Irish police arrest terrorist suspects

Irish police have arrested four people and uncovered bomb-making equipment in a renewed drive against dissident republican paramilitary groups, including the Real IRA.

A woman was detained in the centre of Dublin and three men were arrested after their car was stopped near the border town of Dundalk, Co Louth.

The men were the first to be arrested by the Irish police's anti-terrorist Emergency Response Unit and it is understood that explosives were found in the vehicle.

Later in the day, officers discovered timing power units while arresting the woman, who is in her 30s, in Dublin.

All four were being held under Ireland's Offences Against the State Act, an anti-terror law that permits suspects to be kept in custody for up to 72 hours before being either charged or released. The woman was questioned in a police station in the capital.

Two of the men detained in Co Louth, both from Dublin, were also being quizzed at a police base in the capital. The third man, from Dundalk, was being questioned by detectives in Ashbourne, Co Meath.

The police activity was believed to be directed at the Real IRA, which has been responsible for a number of bombings in Britain and Northern Ireland, and carried out the 1998 bomb attack in Omagh, Co Tyrone, which killed 29 people.

Police were on alert for action by the group during the UK general election campaign.

The Dundalk arrests were made by the Emergency Response Unit, working with local Garda Siochana officers.

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