BELFAST, RINVENUTO MORTAIO CON FILO DI COMANDO. UN ARRESTO
An undercover surveillance operation is believed to have led to the seizure of an improvised mortar bomb in Belfast.
Police believe the operation may have foiled an attack.
The bomb and a command wire were found in a holdall when police stopped a man at the junction of Shaw’s Road and Glen Road in the west of the city.
A 22-year-old man has been arrested and is being questioned at the Serious Crime Suite in Antrim.
Army bomb experts made the device safe and it was taken away for forensic examination.
There were road closures and 12 families had to be moved from their homes during the alert.
The seizure comes two weeks after the dissident group calling itself the IRA fired a mortar at a police Land Rover as it drove along the Falls Road.
A father and his three children were badly shaken when debris from the explosion hit their car.
The device was also an improvised mortar and was detonated by a command wire.
However, it is understood the incidents are not being linked.
A different dissident republican organisation calling itself Óglaigh na hÉireann is believed to have been responsible for the most recent incident.
A man has been arrested by police investigating dissident republican activity after an improvised explosive device was found in a holdall in west Belfast.
The discovery sparked a security alert in the Shaws Road area on Thursday evening.
Police said the 22-year-old had been walking when he was stopped by officers from the Serious Crime Branch at around 11pm.
A holdall with an improvised explosive device was seized. The device is being forensically examined.
Detectives from Serious Crime Branch investigating dissident republican terrorist activity are questioning a 22-year-old man after police seized a bomb in west Belfast last night.
Police added: “The investigation is at an early stage and police are appealing for anyone with information to contact them on the new non-emergency number 101.”
A number of homes in the area were evacuated while the army bomb squad investigated reports of a suspicious object in the Shaws Road area.
The alert lasted overnight before ending on Friday morning.
Further searchers were carried out in the afternoon in the Lenadoon area with forensic officers taking items away for investigation.
Justice Minister David Ford, Alliance, said the discovery of the device may have saved lives.
“The policing operation which led to the discovery of a significant explosive device and subsequent arrest has undoubtedly prevented the misery that those criminals had hoped for,” he said.
“How can any cause be served by putting a potentially deadly device in a built up residential area?
“The attack carried out on police on the Falls Road on 14 March clearly demonstrated their lack of regard for the safety of the local community.
Once again we have seen how good police work has potentially saved lives
“This further incident is yet another example of their blatant disregard for human life.”
Local councillor Tim Attwood has described the discovery of a mortar bomb and command wire in the west of the city as “deeply disturbing”.
The SDLP man said: “It is only through luck rather than design that innocents have not been injured or killed by these devices. There is no support for this kind of destructive activity in our city. People are sick, sore and tired of being forced from their homes or having their elderly relatives forced out.”
Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey said those behind the bomb attempt need to listen to the community and go away.
The West Belfast representative said those involved in so-called republican micro groups have nothing positive to offer the community.
“This is another incident involving one of these micro groups, which has brought disruption and inconvenience to the local community.
“West Belfast suffered enough during the conflict without having unrepresentative groups holding the future of this community to ransom with random acts of violence,” he added.
“There is a clear democratic path to achieving a united Ireland with republicans working towards that goal in every political institution throughout this island. This approach, resulting from the Good Friday Agreement, has been overwhelmingly endorsed by the people of Ireland.
“Those behind this incident are sticking two fingers up to the people of this community and don’t even attempt publicly to stand over their actions,” he concluded.
© UTV News