Searches have been carried out in the Fermanagh area of Northern Ireland following reports that a number of explosive devices were abandoned by dissident republicans.
Investigations were launched after a caller to a news organisation, claiming to be from the Real IRA, said a number of live devices had been left in the area.
It is understood searches were carried out yesterday afternoon close to Newtownbutler, along the main Clones to Monaghan Road. The police helicopter was also deployed. Police have not yet revealed if anything was uncovered during the searches.
Meanwhile, Gardai have arrested two men and a woman, all believed to be in their 30s, as part of ongoing investigations into dissident republican activities.
They were arrested shortly after 4.30pm yesterday at Ulster Street in Phibsboro, Dublin. During the operation, Gardai discovered a number of pipe bombs at the premises and requested the assistance of the army. The arrested people were being detained under Section 30 Offences Against the State Act.
In Fermanagh, UUP councillor Tom Elliott said local people are “very disturbed” by the claims.
“This could be one of several things — the devices could be lying primed somewhere, or there might not be any devices and this is to lure police into a certain area in an attempt to tie police resources up,” Mr Elliot said.
He added: “Clearly this is very disturbing given the current situation in Northern Ireland. There is a heightened threat and people are very nervous. I am very concerned that they say these people have no support but they keep being able to do these things.”
The police have warned members of the public not to investigate or touch any suspicious objects and to report any suspicious activity to the police.
The sinister warning comes amid a heightened threat of further attacks by dissident republicans.
The threat from dissident republicans is now considered so great that prison officers in Northern Ireland have been warned that the threat to them from dissident republican groups is now estimated as “substantial”.
The Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Robin Masefield, has now issued an official warning to all his staff to advise them of the increased risk to their lives.
Tensions remain high after Lurgan republican Colin Duffy was charged on Friday in connection with the murder of two soldiers at an Army barracks in Northern Ireland. More arrests are expected this week by detectives investigating the murders of the soldiers and a policeman.
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