Four arrested over dissidents' terror plot to kill soldier
Published 14/01/2012 | 02:34
Police investigating a dissident republican terror plot to kill soldiers in north Belfast have arrested three men and a woman.
It comes a week after the discovery of a booby-trap device placed inside the car of a Scottish soldier who was visiting his girlfriend's home in Ligoniel.
He had recently served in Afghanistan and, as part of intelligence-gathering, dissidents claimed to have seen a photo of him in uniform sitting on a tank. It had been placed on a Facebook page.
The group Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) was behind the attack.
According to an informed source, two of those now being held are former members of the mainstream IRA.
This newspaper understands that over a period of some days dissidents had three soldiers under surveillance before placing the device inside the car.
Part of the investigation will examine how those behind the attack got inside the car, which this newspaper now understands had not been driven for days.
Using a magnet, a device was fixed below the driver's seat. A trip-wire designed to pull the pin was attached to the buckle of the seatbelt.
Only one soldier was staying at the house in Ligoniel when the device was found nine days ago. The two other soldiers were at addresses elsewhere.
The soldier's girlfriend has since been ordered to leave her home by ONH.
A police spokesman said last night: "Detectives investigating the discovery of a viable explosive device in Blackdam Court on January 5 have arrested three men aged 43, 40 and 30 and a woman aged 41 in the north Belfast area.
"They have been taken to the Antrim serious crime suite for questioning. Searches were carried out at nine properties in the area and a number of items have been taken for examination."