Weapons cache find belonged to Real IRA
Weapons and explosives recovered in Tyrone last week belonged to the Real IRA, it has emerged.
Dissident republican sources last night confirmed the haul, which was hidden inside two stolen cars and included four assault rifles, a small amount of Semtex, ammunition, timer power units, detonators and various component parts for bombs and incendiary devices, belonged to the republican paramilitary group.
Dissident sources also claimed ballistic tests on the four assault rifles recovered during a police raid at a garage unit at Brocagh, near Coalisland, last Tuesday may link at least one of the weapons to previous Real IRA attacks.
Informed sources also say some of the component parts recovered last week are similar to those used in the construction of several dissident republican bombs recently, including a 300lbs device that failed to explode outside Aughnacloy PSNI station last June.
Police carried out the raid on the shores of Lough Neagh days after Catholic PSNI constable Ronan Kerr was killed when a bomb exploded under his car in Omagh earlier this month.
While there has been no claim of responsibility for the attack, the finger of blame has been pointed at a group of “independent” republicans based in Tyrone.
The Belfast Telegraph understands the small group is one of several in the county which has very close links with the Real IRA.
Republican sources last night confirmed that a number of former members of the Provisional IRA in Tyrone had joined the Real IRA or smaller units aligned to the organisation in recent years.