Northern Ireland news

Arrests linked to extortion investigation

Arrests linked to Crumlin pipe bomb.

DETECTIVES investigating a security alert in Crumlin, Co Antrim, in January have arrested three men following a number of searches yesterday.

While police did not comment on whether the arrests were linked to other investigations, it is thought they are linked to threats made to high profile republican Harry Maguire.

The former republican prisoner was warned by the PSNI last week that two pipe bombs had been left at the homes of his 85-year-old mother and his partner in west Belfast.

Neighbours also reported hearing a blast close to Mr Maguire's Andersonstown home.

The same gang who attached a pipe into the front grille of a vehicle parked in the Lurgan Road in Crumlin on Thursday January 16, are being linked to the threats to Mr Maguire.

The Irish News understands the Crumlin device followed an attempt by a criminal gang to extort money from a local businessman.

Detective Inspector Rea said detectives from Criminal Investigation Branch "supported by colleagues from the Terrorism Investigation Unit and Operational Support Department conducted four searches in the Newry, Belfast and Dunmurry areas".

Two men aged 55 and a third aged 58 were arrested.

"The men were arrested under the Terrorism Act and have been taken to the Serious Crime Suite at Musgrave for questioning.

"Our investigation into this incident is ongoing and anyone with any information is asked to contact detectives at Musgrave on 101 quoting reference number 1665 16/01/20. Alternatively, information can also be given anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111".

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