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Bomb find represents a blow to dissidents

The discovery of an arms cache in a County Antrim forest is clearly an important development which takes out of circulation a range of weapons capable of causing death and destruction.

Police have described the find as one of the most significant in recent years and certainly all the indications are that this was a sizeable haul.

Among the weapons found was an armour-piercing improvised rocket as well as two anti-personnel mines.

These items, along with a number of pipe bombs, assault rifle ammunition and bomb component parts, were packed into barrels and buried in Capanagh Forest near Larne.

We are told they were found after two people out walking on Saturday noticed ``suspicious objects'' and raised the alarm.

This find bears remarkable similiarities to the seizure of munitions at Carnfunnock Country Park, also near Larne, in March.

Although this area is not known for republican activity, police are nevertheless linking these discoveries to dissident paramilitaries.

The presence of the improvised rocket that can pierce armour is a key reason why detectives are looking in the direction of the dissidents.

Amassing these munitions and concealing them in these forest areas will have involved considerable planning and organisation.

There is no doubt that taking such a large quantity of explosives out of the hands of these violent groups will deal them a severe blow.

The wider community will feel enormous relief that these bombs and bullets will not be used to kill or injure police and prison officers or put the lives of civilians in danger.

The timing of this discovery is also notable, coming just days after the threat level in Britain from dissident attack was raised from moderate to substantial.

We all know the misery and horror that can be inflicted by these organisations and anything that thwarts their malign plans has to be welcomed.

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Leading article