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British army not deployed in fresh Derry searches

British military vehicles were present during Derry security search on Wednesday
Seamus McKinney

THE PSNI have confirmed that no British soldiers were involved in a fresh round of house searches in Derry.

The search at Rathlin Drive in the Creggan followed the search of two houses in the city’s Galliagh area on Wednesday.

Nationalist politicians reacted angrily when it was revealed that British soldiers – with specialist training in bombs and munitions – were used in the Galliagh searches.

Sinn Féin Policing Board member, Gerry Kelly said he intended raising the involvement of British soldiers - who were not Army Technical Officers - with PSNI chief constable, George Hamilton.

However, his comments have been criticised by the DUP who claimed they were “illogical and ill-considered.”

East Derry MP Gregory Campbell said he was told in a parliamentary answer last year that “military personnel” had been deployed in the north west 168 times in a five-month period. It was unclear if the military personnel were members of the army bomb disposal team which is deployed regularly in the area.

Mr Campbell said: “I even used the statistics to point out that there was a merit in the MoD having an Army Technical Unit (bomb disposal team) located in Londonderry on a full time basis.

“Gerry Kelly should cease his faux rage at the soldiers being deployed in Londonderry and instead focus on the reason why there needed to be such a police operation in the first place.”

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