Bristol arson attack linked to anarchist terror network


An anarchist cell linked to a Europe-wide network of “insurrectionists” claims to have struck again in Bristol – Channel 4 News can reveal their history of sabotage and arson attacks in the UK.


Avon and Somerset police are investigating a possible arson attack at the site of a planned police firearms training centre near Bristol.

The incident is the latest attack to be claimed by a group linked to the Informal Anarchist Federation (IAF), though police are not commenting on their alleged involvement.

More than twelve hours later the fire is still burning. It put smiles on our faces
Anarchist statement

The emergence of the IAF in the UK has gone widely unnoticed – but they are linked to attacks on politicians’ homes, the destruction of a broadcast mast and the sabotaging of train lines around Bristol.

A statement from the IAF released yesterday boasted the following: “We used accelerant to burn the major electrical cables at five junction points throughout the complex, and doused and lighted a pallet of electrical fittings and wires. More than twelve hours later the fire is still burning. It put smiles on our faces.”

In a statement Assistant Chief Constable Dave Hayler of Avon and Somerset police said:

“We’re devastated to see the impact of the fire. The training centre is a new state of the art development designed to train firearms officers across three forces. For the communities of Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire whose officers will be trained there, it’s a tragic setback.”

History of attacks

In June six vehicles belonging to the UK Border Agency were torched at an industrial estate in Bristol, and the IAF later claimed responsibility in a statement sent to the Insurrectionist magazine 325.

When contacted by Channel 4 News at the time, police claimed there was no national investigation into the group but noted they were aware of a string of attacks the IAF had claimed.

In November 2011 the Mayor of Bristol and a local Tory councillor had their cars set alight outside their homes. Mayor Geoff Gollop fled with his family as the car blazed outside his home. A subsequent statement from the IAF claimed “We can strike you any time we wish.”

One of the most high profile actions claimed by the IAF in Bristol was an arson attack on a communications mast taking out radio and TV to over 80,000 homes along with distrupting communications for emergency services.

A statement after that attack declared; “Mass media is the enemy of all rebellion” and revealed “we burnt out the mast by setting fire to the cables at the bottom” – similar to the method used in this week’s arson attack.

The only actions outside of the Bristol area were in Nottingham where the group has claimed responsibility for arson attacks on prison vans and G4S vehicles over the last year.

In May 2012 the group took responsibility for sabotaging train lines at two points near Bristol disrupting thousands of commuters – a statement outlined how they damaged the signals and claimed they were targeting “employees of the Ministry of Defence”.

They have also published claims for low level attacks on an almost monthly basis over the last two years, including attacks on G4S vans and employees, the Conservative club and even Bristol zoo.

There have been no known arrests in relation to any of the attacks claimed by the IAF around Bristol.

European network

Informal Anarchist Federation is a name used by a network of insurrectionist groups across Europe and parts of Latin America. Groups are active in Spain, Mexico, Italy Greece and Chile.

In Greece the Conspiracy Cells of Fire group, linked to IAF, have carried out car bomb attacks and sent parcel bombs targeting politicians, prisons and security services, while in Italy members claimed the shooting of a nuclear scientist.

In the UK the group takes on a different name for each action carried out, but statements are produced in the same style using the typical language of the Insurrectionary anarchist movement and co-signed IAF.

The Coming Insurrection

The group’s ideology is inspired by insurrectionary anarchists like Alfredo Bonanno and the book The Coming Insurrection, which was a huge hit with academics in recent years.

The Leeds based insurrectionist publication 325 magazine has published all statements from the group along with information about anarchist prisoners across the globe.

A series of similar attacks in the 70s and 80s were carried out under the name the Angry Brigade, but there is little support even among British anarchists for the current actions. The similarly named Anarchist Federation has distanced itself from the actions, along with other left groups, calling the IAF “elitist” and denouncing their violent tactics.

Avon and Somerset police have stated that “Valley Road is likely to be closed for the next two or three days and single file traffic is likely to continue along the Clevedon to Portishead road at the bottom of Valley Road for a similar period.

“If anyone in the local community has concerns about the Black Rock Quarry fire we would urge them to call Avon and Somerset Police on 101.”

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