Irish police find weapons stash in republican militant raids

11th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Police in Ireland on Monday seized a machine gun and bomb-making equipment in an operation against dissident republican militants opposed to the peace process in Northern Ireland.

The seizures were "significant" in efforts to thwart "a small group of people who want to inflict violence and pain," said Ireland's police chief, Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy.

Items found during searches in Counties Louth and Meath, north of Dublin, included a machine gun, a shot gun, a pipe bomb, an improvised mortar, ammunition, bomb-making equipment and explosives, said a police statement.

The continuing operation against dissident republicans that began last Friday -- just days after a bomb blamed on such militants exploded in Northern Ireland -- has so far resulted in 10 arrests.

Six of those held, five men and a woman, are still being questioned under anti-terror laws.

Two of those arrested appeared before an anti-terrorist court on Sunday on charges related to dissident offences. Two others were released without charge.

There is no suggestion of a direct link between the Irish police operation and last week's car bomb in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, which injured two policemen and caused extensive damage.

But the blast in the British province was blamed on dissident republicans seeking to undermine the peace process in Northern Ireland and is the latest in an upsurge of attacks there.

Although no one has died in the attacks, they have fuelled fears of a return to the violence that pitched Catholic nationalists against pro-British Protestant unionists for three decades and left some 3,500 people dead.

© 2010 AFP

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