Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Terrorism Investigation Unit have conducted six searches and made two arrests during a two-day operation into criminality linked to the New IRA in the Strabane area.
Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Hamlin said: “On Monday two men aged 26 and 34 were arrested in Strabane in connection with recent attempted paramilitary-style attacks and a weapons find in the Strabane area in March this year. The men are currently in Musgrave Serious Crime Suite where they are being questioned.
Detectives also searched five houses in Strabane during which they recovered a number of items which were removed for further examination.
“As part of the ongoing investigation into an improvised mortar device that was discovered in Church View, Strabane in September 2019, detectives today conducted a search of land in the greater Strabane area.
“The reckless actions of the New IRA place our communities at risk and they do not care – but we care and we are determined to disrupt their violence and their criminal activities.
“We believe the New IRA were responsible for the ill-conceived attack in September last year which put the lives of the local community and local Police officers at risk. Whilst the device was aimed at the nearby police station and was undoubtedly designed to injure or murder police officers who work to keep local people safe, it was recklessly left in a public area, just metres away from a number of family homes.
“A number of small children were in close proximity to the deadly device and it is disgraceful that their lives were put at risk. A number of older and vulnerable people were also forced to leave the comfort and safety of their own homes.
“The search and arrest operation over the last two days also focused on recent attempts to carry out violent attacks against people in the Strabane community. Members of the New IRA profess to have the interests of the community in mind and yet they are happy to carry out unimaginable violence against local people. This hypocrisy will not be lost on the community.
“The New IRA consistently demonstrate that they do not care who is hurt or killed by their violent actions.
“Our focus is on keeping the community safe and protecting them from the threat posed by these violent groups but we need the help of the public. Our chances of success are vastly improved by support and information from community as the search and arrest operation over the last two days demonstrates. I would strongly urge people to report any suspicions they have about dangerous and illegal activity in our community to police on 101 or alternatively, information can be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous.”