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Discovery of bomb equipment 'severely hampers' dissidents

By Deborah McAleese

Published 25/11/2015

Police officers removing a large quantity of items from a property in Poleglass
Police officers removing a large quantity of items from a property in Poleglass

The capabilities of a dissident republican terrorist unit have been greatly frustrated by a major munitions find in west Belfast, it has been claimed.

Anti-terror police seized a haul of ammunition and bomb-making equipment from the attic of a house in Twinbrook in searches on Sunday, police revealed.

Yesterday, Sinn Fein said one of its councillors, Stephen Magennis, had received a death threat in the wake of the discovery.

Among the items seized were 700 rounds of ammunition, seven mercury tilt switches, a detonator cord, firework powder and an assault rifle magazine.

Suspicious items were also recovered from a house in Poleglass.

Further police "blitzes" on suspected dissident republican terrorists are anticipated over the next few months, Policing Board member Jonathan Craig said.

"This successful policing operation has resulted in very dangerous items being taken off the streets," the DUP MLA added. "It has greatly hampered the operations of this group."

PSNI detective inspector Philip Montgomery described the find as "significant" and said items "designed to kill and injure have been taken off the streets".

The munitions and bomb-making components were concealed in a brown paper bag in the roof space of a house at Broom Close.

Items discovered at another property at Glenwood Walk in Poleglass (above) have been taken away for detailed examination.

Sinn Fein MLA Jennifer McCann said those behind the threats to her colleague had nothing to offer society.

"The death threats against councillor Stephen Magennis are utterly wrong and I totally condemn them," she added.

"These despicable threats against Stephen are directly linked to his work as a public representative, keeping local residents informed and safe following a security alert in the area on Sunday."

Jonathan Craig said that with additional money now available to tackle paramilitaries - £160m was secured over the next five years as part of the recent Stormont Agreement - "police will continue blitzing the groups".

A 57-year-old woman and a 44-year-old man arrested during the searches were released from custody yesterday, pending a report to the PPS.

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