Police come under attack in Derry during New IRA search
THERE were several angry clashes during a major search in Derry's Creggan area linked to the PSNI's Operation Arbacia into the 'New IRA'.
Police came under missile attack after the arrest of a well-known republican at his home in the Ballymagowan area yesterday.
The 52-year-old was held under terrorism legislation in connection with what police said was a “stand-alone strand of Operation Arbacia” investigating the New IRA's “bomb making activities” and the storage of explosive devices and equipment.
Raymond Murray, head of the PSNI's serious crime branch, said the search, which lasted throughout yesterday, was conducted by a specialist terrorism investigation unit, local police and the Operational Support Department.
The Detective Chief Superintendent said the operation – designated Operation Ledging – was one of several ongoing into the New IRA.
Police confirmed that two men, aged 32 and 23, were also arrested in relation to public order offences during the search which was accompanied by an unusually large police presence.
Det Chief Supt Murray said officers carried out a detailed forensic examination of the house at the centre of yesterday's operation.
“Today's arrest and examination of a house is a significant development in a long-term inquiry into this aspect of the gang's activities," he said.
"The New IRA continues to pose a very real danger, most especially to the communities in the areas where they construct and store their bombs and guns."
The senior officer said the group often hid weapons and bombs in places where local people could stumble across them.
“The approaching anniversary of the heartless murder of Lyra McKee and the self-serving justification of it by those who were involved in it, underscores the risks that the New IRA pose to those going about their lawful business,” he said.
A spokesman for dissident republican party Saoradh confirmed the two men arrested in relation to public order offences were members