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Police discover bomb, handgun and ammunition during two day search operation in Londonderry

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A large scale PSNI search operation in Londonderry targeting the activities of dissident republicans has found a bomb, a handgun and ammunition.

The items were discovered during a two day search by police and military personnel in a 38 acre area near Ballymagroarty.

Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said: “This operation was designed specifically to find items we believed were being stored in this area and which posed a serious and imminent risk to the community. They have thankfully now been removed and will be subject to rigorous forensic examination.

"The despicable criminals using this area for terrorist purposes are reckless and continually put our community at risk.

"Despite the constant threat posed by this dangerous minority, local police officers continue to provide a community-focussed policing service to the people of Derry/Londonderry whilst simultaneously working to thwart their activities through operations like this one.

"Our chances of success are improved by support and information from the local community. Anything you know, or anything you have seen – share that information with us and help us put these criminals out of business."

SDLP Leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood has described the discoveries as "deeply disturbing".

“The discovery of what has been described by police as ‘dangerous objects’ in searches linked to dissident republican activity is deeply disturbing. How many times do the people of Derry have to reject those intent on causing murder and mayhem on our streets before they get the message?

“The use of violence in the pursuit of political goals is not only immoral, it is a failed strategy. Those who continue to engage in violence have nothing to offer the people of this city or this island.”

Justice Minister Naomi Long said: “Those intent on bringing Northern Ireland back to the dark days of violence have absolutely nothing to offer our community. They go against the democratic principles that the vast majority of people in our society support.

“Leaving such items anywhere, but in particular near a housing estate, poses a real danger to everyone who lives in the area.

“The police have undoubtedly saved lives today and their actions keep people safe. They do this without fear or favour, despite being under threat themselves. Their actions are in stark contrast to the callous and malicious behaviour of those who would seek to use potentially lethal weapons to control their own communities through fear and violence.

“We must all work together as a community to bring these people to justice. I would appeal to anyone with any information to contact the police on 101 or the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.”

Belfast Telegraph