Northern Ireland news

Two more dissident republican bombs found in Lurgan

A number of arms and devices have been found following a police search operation on the outskirts of Lurgan
John Monaghan

TWO further bombs have been discovered by police in Lurgan, a day after a major arms haul was uncovered in the town.

On Saturday, police confirmed a search operation had ended with the seizure of two "viable explosive devices".

The search had been continuing since Thursday and firearms and munitions, understood to be connected to dissident republicans, were found by police on Friday in the grounds of a former convent in the Co Armagh town.

Other material found included home-made explosives, improvised mortars and launchers, pipe bombs and three firearms.

A stun gun and timing devices were also among the haul.

The weapons are believed to belong to the group known to as the New IRA, which has been active in the Lurgan area.

Detective Superintendent Karen Baxter said: "A number of other items have been recovered including two viable explosive devices which were made safe by ATO.

"All of the recovered items have now been seized and removed for forensic examination."

Ulster Unionist Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson praised the PSNI officers involved in the three day security operation.

Mrs Dobson said: "The republican arms dump discovered on Friday was extremely significant, as were the two further bombs uncovered by the PSNI on Saturday.

"The advanced stage of preparedness of many of the arms uncovered will be deeply worrying for many."

She added: "I once again praise the PSNI and in particular those officers directly involved in this search operation - an operation which has undoubtedly thwarted the actions of terrorists and saved lives."

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire said those who had hidden the weapons "want to drag Northern Ireland backwards" but added that they would "not succeed".

Police were unable to confirm the length of time the arms had been there, but republican sources told The Irish News that the majority of the find was older material that had been concealed in the area for some considerable time.

Workmen are initially thought to have stumbled across some of the weaponry and during two days of follow-up searches by officers using specialist equipment, several other small dumps were discovered in the vicinity of a derelict property on the outskirts of the town.

It is third significant arms find since the start of the year.

In May, bomb components were discovered at Capanagh Forest near Larne and in March, arms were also discovered at Carnfunnock Country Park close to the town.

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