Terror cops raid Newry bungalow: Heavily armed police PSNI squad arrests 12 men during major operation against suspected dissident republicans
Heavily armed police swooped on a small bungalow in a Newry housing estate last night and arrested 12 men in a major operation against suspected dissident republicans.
The men, aged between 36 and 75, were taken to Antrim Serious Crime Suite for questioning as part of what a PSNI spokesman said was a "proactive investigation into violent dissident republican activity in Northern Ireland".
Some PSNI officers were kitted out in heavy military-style body armour.
The elite anti-terrorism squad carried automatic weapons and wore high-tech helmets fitted with cameras, goggles and microphones.
Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes from the Serious Crime Branch said: "Police are determined to investigate those individuals suspected of involvement in serious crime.
"This investigation is an example of our commitment to keep everyone in the community safe."
Eyewitnesses said the officers raided a house at Ardcarn Park in the mainly nationalist Carnagat estate.
As a helicopter hovered overhead at least a dozen police Land Rovers were counted.
Police set up a specially constructed tent in the garden of the bungalow to search suspects brought from the house. The huge police raid came hours after a shooting incident in the early hours of Monday morning at nearby Meigh, close to the south Armagh border.
It was unclear if there was any link between the two incidents.
Locals in Newry said the people taken from the Ardcarn House included some "well-known individuals" in the area.
An eyewitness said: "It is a dramatic scene in Newry tonight.
"There is a helicopter up in the air and there are at least 12 Land Rovers in the estate but it is the amount of equipment the officers are wearing which has had locals saying they never saw anything like it.
"Officers standing outside the house were carrying large guns and they also had their faces covered and were wearing helmets which were fitted with cameras.
"They also had goggles and what appeared to be voice mics to speak into.
"It was like something you would see in one of those video games like Call Of Duty."
Sinn Fein mayor of Newry Daire Hughes said that earlier in the evening he had attended a Policing and Community Safety Partnership meeting at Newry & Mourne Council offices not far from the Carnagat area, where local police chiefs explained that there was an operation ongoing at the estate.