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Buckingham Palace cordoned off as Irish republican dissidents issue London bomb threat


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Bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion as a security alert closed down the centre of the capital around Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.

A suitcase was discovered abandoned outside a hotel and was destroyed in a controlled explosion at 9.30am.

It comes a day before the Queen is scheduled to make her first ever visit to the Republic of Ireland.

Security was heightened after a "non-specific" threat was issued to authorities last night.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "A bomb threat warning has been received relating to central London today. The threat is not specific in relation to location or time."

Police closed down Trafalgar Square and the Mall and carried out searches in sewers after discovering a disturbed manhole cover.

Members of the Yard's Marine Support Unit have entered the sewers on the Mall close to St James's Palace to carry out searches.

Londoners were urged to go about their business as usual but to look out for "unusual activity or behaviour" in a statement issued by police.

Scotland Yard officers were working with the City of London Police and British Transport Police, with all officers "advised to be highly vigilant to ensure the safety of London".

The threat level from Irish-related terrorism has not increased and remains at substantial, meaning that an attack is a strong possibility, police added.

A terror expert has said the security alert on the Mall blamed on Irish dissidents could have happened because Dublin was seen as "too difficult" a target.

Crispin Black said the Queen's historic visit to Ireland has caused widespread anger amongst republican extremist groups.


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