'INLA ammunition and pipe bombs' seized by police

Ammunition and pipe bombs thought to be linked to the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) have been seized in Belfast.

The republican paramilitary splinter group said it destroyed its arms in 2010 as part of the Northern Ireland peace process.

It declared a ceasefire in 1998 but was suspected of involvement in a number of murders since then.

Among its most high-profile Troubles victims was Conservative Northern Ireland spokesman Airey Neave.

Police revealed they are conducting an ongoing probe into continued criminality by the group.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detective chief inspector Pete Mullan said: "The search, which was part of an ongoing investigation into organised criminality associated to INLA by detectives from PSNI's Reactive and Organised Crime Branch, uncovered five pipe bombs and a quantity of ammunition.

"These are for one purpose only - to kill and injure people.

"Today's operation demonstrates our ongoing commitment to keep people safe in our communities."

The cache of explosives was found at a house in Conway Street in west Belfast.

The INLA was a much smaller group than the Provisional IRA but was capable of ruthless slaughter.

It was believed to have been responsible for more than 120 murders from its formation in 1975 until its ceasefire in 1998.

A report on paramilitarism was ordered following a 2015 killing by members of the Provisionals which jeopardised the powersharing institutions at Stormont.

It said the structures of the INLA remained in existence but there was little evidence of centralised control.

There were indications the INLA was attempting to recruit new members.

It continued to have access to some arms and was heavily involved in criminality, the report said.

Ulster Unionist Stormont Assembly candidate for next month's poll Fred Rodgers said: "There is no place in our society for any group that seeks to impose its will on communities by the threat of, or use of force."

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