Belfast Telegraph

Arrests made as INLA photo circulates on social media

The PSNI made two arrests shortly after the photo was circulated on various platforms this week.
The PSNI made two arrests shortly after the photo was circulated on various platforms this week.

A photo showing an INLA show of strength has been widely condemned.

The photo shows five INLA members wearing balaclavas, four of them carrying weapons.

Wearing camouflage jackets, with their faces covered they are standing on a pavement beside a wall which has been graffitied with "INLA". It's believed to have been taken in Londonderry and on Tuesday.

Belfast DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst highlighted the image and called for police to crackdown on the group "before they become more dangerous".

A PSNI spokesperson said that they were "aware of the photograph".

"The winder investigation into the criminality linked to the INLA in the North West remains ongoing," the spokesperson said.

Police have blamed the INLA for an increase in paramilitary attacks in the north west of Northern Ireland in recent weeks.

Two people - aged 19 and 57 - were arrested earlier in the week in connection with the attacks in a probe that police also linked to the firing of shots over the coffin of former INLA prisoner Michael McElkerney in May this year in Belfast.

Both were released with the 57-year-old reported to the Public Prosecution Service for the offences of directing terrorism and membership of a proscribed organisation namely the INLA.

Police also seized mobile phones, documentation and other electronic devices in searches.

Detective Inspector Tom McClure said the terror group was a priority for police due to the level of threat, risk and harm they posed to communities as well as the "breadth and depth of their criminality".

A spokesman for the DUP in Londonderry welcomed the latest arrests and called for the PSNI to take action against those in the photograph.

"For a picture of five INLA gunmen to be circulated is an absolute disgrace," he said.

"After seeing the picture I immediately contacted the PSNI and welcome the swift action they have taken against the INLA.

"Nobody is above the law, the PSNI is the law and the community do not want these people carrying out punishment shootings and other illegal activities."

The spokesman said paramilitary activity of any form could not be tolerated.

"These people have nothing to offer, they are criminals and our message to them would be that they should just get lost," he added.

"I would call on the PSNI to investigate this fully and hopefully we will see the arrests of the men in this picture.

"We want to see these gunmen off our streets."

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