A few days prior to the attacks, Northern Ireland’s chief constable Sir Hugh Orde announced that British army special forces from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) were being deployed.
The SRR recently ran death squads in Iraq targeting supporters of the resistance to the US-British occupation of that country.
It was also involved in the operation which led to the slaying of Jean Charles de Menezes on the London tube in July 2005.
When the SRR was formed in 2005 it incorporated a secret unit of the British army that had supplied names, addresses and photographs of Catholic targets to Loyalist paramilitaries. This led to the murder of at least 30 Catholics.
Many victims had no connection to the IRA, such as Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane who was murdered by Loyalist paramilitaries in 1989.