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Explosives uncovered by police in Belfast following security alert

Published 18/09/2015

Two people have been arrested and suspicious objects seized during a security alert in Belfast.
Two people have been arrested and suspicious objects seized during a security alert in Belfast.

Police investigating violent dissident republicanism have uncovered more than half a kilo of Semtex explosives, firearms and ammunition in West Belfast.

Two handguns, m ore than 200 rounds of ammunition and two bomb detonators were also recovered, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.

The threat level from dissidents opposed to the peace process in Northern Ireland remains severe.

PSNI detective chief inspector Gillian Kearney, from Serious Crime Branch, said: "We are delighted to have removed these potentially lethal items from the streets of west Belfast.

"We appreciate the clearance operation which was needed to ensure everyone's safety through the night disrupted many people's lives, requiring people to leave their homes and inconveniencing road users.

"We would like to thank them for their patience and understanding during the operation. We will continue to work with the community to ensure we keep everyone safe."

The seizure follows a security alert in Ballymurphy Road which began late last night and continued into the early hours of this morning.

The items have been sent for detailed forensic examination.

A 38-year-old woman and a 67-year-old man arrested at the scene continue to be questioned at the Serious Crime Suite at Antrim police station.

Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the PSNI should be praised for discovering the weapons stash.

He said: "Of course we challenge police services when they get things wrong but, when they get things right, they need to be applauded.

"I think in this instance where attempts to kill people; attempts to plunge us back to the past are being thwarted, the police should be applauded."

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