‘Ireland is not safe from a terror attack’ – Former Al-Qaeda member’s warning
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‘Ireland is not safe from a terror attack’ – Former Al-Qaeda member’s warning

IRELAND is seen as a "soft touch" for a terror attack, according to a former Al-Qaeda member who is now a security expert.

In the wake of the Manchester bombing, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said an attack on Irish soil was "possible but not likely".

However, Aimen Dean, a former Al-Qaeda recruiter and bomb-maker, insists that Ireland is "fertile ground" for recruiting and fundraising by extremists, who see the country as a "safe haven".

Mr Dean told the Sunday Independent: "It is a country which has no central intelligence service of its own; it depends on foreign intelligence to anticipate threats," he said, adding that it's "rather naive" to think Ireland is safe from attack.

Mr Dean said while the so-called Islamic State isn't necessarily targeting Ireland, it could take advantage of the Irish tourist industry.

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He argued: "What ISIS are looking for… not necessarily targeting the Irish population, but looking at the tourist industry.

"People who are coming from the UK, from Spain, from France, from the US in particular, who are coming for cultural events, for tourism… they will become easy targets here on this land.

"It's an agricultural land, which means it is easy to obtain bomb-making materials… You also have the fact that there are many weapons in the north of the island – illegal weapons."

Twenty-two people were killed last week by a suicide bomber in Manchester. Picture: Getty Images

Mr Dean was brought up in Saudi Arabia and joined the notorious terrorist group in the early 1990s, when he pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden.

He left Al-Qaeda in 1998 after the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed, with over 200 people killed.

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Mr Dean ultimately ended up in the hands of MI6, and became a spy for the British intelligence services.

In that role, he says he has helped foil potential suicide bombings and poison attacks on British citizens.

Earlier this month, Irish terror police made two arrests as they swooped on several homes in Ireland.

The threat level in Ireland is rated as "moderate" in the wake of the Manchester bombing, meaning an attack is possible, but not likely.