THE IRA has allegedly claimed responsibility for the suspected explosive devices sent to the Oxford Armed Forces recruitment office and other military careers bases last week.

The Metropolitan Police yesterday said the claim – which was said to have been made on behalf of the IRA – was received on Saturday by a Northern Irish media outlet. A recognised codeword was used, the police said.

It was reported a group had given a statement that said: “The IRA claims responsibility for the explosive devices that were sent to British armed forces recruitment centres in England. Attacks will continue when and where the IRA see fit.”

St Giles was shut off for more than two hours on Thursday after the suspicious package was sent to the recruitment office. Four suspected explosive devices were also discovered at Army careers offices in Brighton, Canterbury and the Queensmere shopping centre in Slough.

This followed packets sent to Aldershot, Hampshire, Reading, Berkshire, and Army and RAF careers office in Chatham, Kent.

One of the packages bore a Republic of Ireland postmark and Downing Street said they bore “the hallmarks of Northern Ireland-related terrorism”.

The IRA disbanded in the years after it declared an end to its armed campaign in 2005, but a group calling itself the New IRA formed just before the Olympics in 2012 and was linked to letter bombs sent last autumn.