A plot to assassinate Prince Charles during a royal tour of Ireland next week was broken up by the Irish national police force, who arrested six men with alleged links to the Irish domestic terror group Real IRA — and confiscated an arsenal of guns and bombs Wednesday night. Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker-Bowles are scheduled to begin a four-day tour of Ireland on May 19.
One stop on the tour is scheduled to be Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, the location where on August 27, 1979, IRA terrorists assassinated Prince Charles’ great uncle and beloved godfather Lord Mountbatten, detonating a 50-pound bomb on the British war hero’s fishing yacht.
That blast killed three others along with Mountbatten, including his 14-year-old grandson.
The visit will be the first time that Prince Charles has seen the site of his favorite uncle’s death since the assassination took place when the now 66-year-old next King of England was just 30.
While police in Ireland have not officially linked the arrests of the six men to the visit of Prince Charles, reports in the British media say that, according to unnamed sources, the alleged terrorists planned to line a route traveled by Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles with explosive devices filled with shrapnel such as ball-bearings and sharp metal scraps, insuring that the royal couple would be killed — along with, in all likelihood, dozens of others.
“These were serious bombs. It’s not as if these were two criminal gangs wanting to blow the exhausts of each other’s cars. These were the real deal,” said one “security source” quoted in Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper.
“They had the ability to maim and kill within a massive radius. They were going to be used as car bombs which were to be dotted along the route the royals were expected to take.”
“These would have been the same type of bomb used during the Omagh bombing in 1998. Thankfully, the bombs have been caught, but police are still going to be keeping a very high alert on for the next two weeks,” the source said.
The 1998 Omagh bombing was also attributed to the Real IRA organization, killing 29 in the single worst terror attack in what was euphemistically referred to as “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland.
The main branch of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) had agreed to a cease fire in the conflict in 1994.
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles are also scheduled to visit Northern Ireland following their tour of Ireland, a visit looked on a major step in “the reconciliation work of recent decades, to which Prince Charles has made a strong contribution,” according to the British Press Association.
[Image: Pool Photo / Getty Images]