Northern Ireland news

Two arrests in probe into New IRA in Strabane

Police have appealed for information

TWO arrests have been made and six searches carried out by detectives during a two-day operation investigating criminality linked to the dissident republican New IRA in the Strabane area.

The men aged aged 26 and 34 were arrested in the Co Tyrone town on Monday in connection with attempted paramilitary-style attacks and a weapons find in the area in March.

Detectives also searched five houses in Strabane and recovered several items for further examination.

A search of land in the greater Strabane area was also carried out yesterday as part of an investigation into an improvised mortar device discovered at Church View in September 2019.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Hamlin said they believe the New IRA was responsible for the "ill-conceived" attack.

"Whilst the device was aimed at the nearby police station and was undoubtedly designed to injure or murder police officers who work to keep local people safe, it was recklessly left in a public area, just metres away from a number of family homes," he said.

"A number of small children were in close proximity to the deadly device and it is disgraceful that their lives were put at risk.

"A number of older and vulnerable people were also forced to leave the comfort and safety of their own homes."

Mr Hamlin said the dissident republican group "consistently demonstrate that they do not care who is hurt or killed by their violent actions".

"Our focus is on keeping the community safe and protecting them from the threat posed by these violent groups but we need the help of the public," he said.

"Our chances of success are vastly improved by support and information from community as the search and arrest operation over the last two days demonstrates."

He urged people to report any suspicions they have about dangerous and illegal activity to police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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