Woman arrested in Belfast riot raids

Detectives investigating rioting that surrounded the Orange Order's July 12 parades in Northern Ireland today said they have arrested a woman after officers found a gun.





The 49-year-old woman was arrested as part of a major investigation into serious public disorder in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast.



Police also seized a number of replica weapons during searches connected to rioting elsewhere in the city.



More than 80 officers were injured in three days of riots, which affected areas across Northern Ireland, though Ardoyne witnessed the most serious and sustained violence.



The woman was arrested during the search of a house in the Ardoyne area last night.



A handgun and ammunition were recovered from the house during the search.



The woman is being held at the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Serious Crime Suite in Antrim police station.



Meanwhile, officers recovered a total of eleven replica and blank firing weapons and other paramilitary items during the search of a house in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on last night. There were no arrests.



The search was carried out as part of an investigation into the attempted murder of three police officers at North Queen Street on the night of July 11.



A masked man opened fire on officers with a shotgun during rioting at the scene.



The majority of Orange Order parades passed off peacefully, but the height of the loyalist marching season on July 12 still has the potential to raise tensions in flashpoint areas.



Dissident republican groups opposed to the peace process were also blamed by police for instigating violence and using riots as a cover to attack officers.



Police were challenged over the failure to make arrests during riots, but they pledged to use evidence gathered during disturbances, to track down suspects.