London, Dec. 6 (ANI): Republican terrorists are "highly likely" to strike British troops in Northern Ireland during Christmas, secret documents have revealed.
Intelligence chiefs believe that rebel republicans will "ramp-up" attempts to murder British troops and police officers in a series of shooting and bomb attacks in the next few weeks.
"The Army are now the soft targets in Northern Ireland. They can't arm themselves and have to rely on the police for protection," The Telegraph an intelligence source, as saying.
"We know the dissidents are planning attacks and the only advice we can give to soldiers is 'stay vigilant'. Both the military and the security services here are expecting something big in the run-up to Christmas. There has certainly been a ramping-up of dissident activity."
Secret documents reveal that the terrorists now have access to an armoury of weapons and explosives and are believed to be receiving help from disaffected members of the Provisional rish Republican Army.
One document discloses that "Dissident republicans are at the advanced stages of an attack", and adds that the current threat levels are "the highest in seven years".
The threat is now so great that all British military personnel have been ordered not to travel to and from bases in uniform or to wear any clothing or garments, which may identify them as members of the armed forces.
Individual soldiers who feel particularly at risk have been told that they can wear body armour underneath their civilian clothes.
A 5,000 strong British barrack remains in 22 bases in Ulster but since the end of Operation Banner in July 2007, servicemen are no longer allowed to carry weapons beyond their barrack walls. (ANI)