Bomb factory find 'foils attack plans'

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The Independent Online

Fresh dissident Republican attacks on policing representatives may have been foiled by a raid on a bomb-making factory in Northern Ireland, chief constable Hugh Orde claimed today.

Fresh dissident Republican attacks on policing representatives may have been foiled by a raid on a bomb-making factory in Northern Ireland, chief constable Hugh Orde claimed today.

As four men were being questioned about the incendiary devices seized from a flat in County Tyrone, Mr Orde insisted the operation had dealt the dissidents a major blow.

Component parts for six bombs were recovered during searches in the Lisnafin Park, Strabane last night.

Catholic District Policing Partnership members in the town have received death threats and been sent devices in an attempt by the dissidents to destroy the new arrangements.

Mr Orde said: "The history of Strabane is that they have targeted members of the DPP who are now a lot safer as a result of our activity.

"It's too early to say if these devices were meant for them but it's a distinct possibility."

The flat swooped on by officers is in a built up area close to where children play and near a leisure centre. Police have warned that a number of bombs may still be stored nearby.

Security sources have linked the arrests to the Real IRA, the republic splinter organisation behind the Omagh bomb atrocity.

The operation came a week after four men were stopped and a sniper's rifle seized as part of police moves to smash dissident activity in the South Armagh area.

Mr Orde insisted the successes would cause significant disruption to the dissidents.

"We have done the dissidents huge damage," he claimed. "To arrest eight people in 10 days will have a major impact on those organisations."

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