'The border does not provide an escape route': Anti-terrorism chiefs welcome arrests over car bombing bid

Anti-terrorism chiefs in the North have welcomed the arrest by Gardaí of two suspected dissident republicans in connection with an attempt to murder a PSNI officer last June.

'The border does not provide an escape route': Anti-terrorism chiefs welcome arrests over car bombing bid

Anti-terrorism chiefs in the North have welcomed the arrest by Gardaí of two suspected dissident republicans in connection with an attempt to murder a PSNI officer last June.

The two suspects were arrested by members of the Special Detective Unit this morning.

The pair are suspected of involvement in the transportation of a bomb found under the car of a senior PSNI officer at a golf club in Belfast on June 1.

PSNI described the attack, at Shandon Park Golf Club in east Belfast, as attempted murder and said it is very fortunate the device was detected before it exploded.

The planned attack was claimed by the New IRA.

Investigating officers said their inquiries centred on two cars found burnt out in north Belfast, including a green Skoda Octavia with a 01 D registration.

This sparked a cross-border investigation, with Garda Security and Intelligence and the SDU conducting inquiries.

A Garda statement said members of Special Detective Unit arrested the two males, aged in their 40s, on Tuesday morning.

The two men are being detained at a Dublin garda station under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, which allows for an initial period of detention of 24 hours, which, on application to the courts, can be extended for a further possible 48 hours.

“The arrests are linked to enquiries being carried out by An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland into the discovery of an under vehicle explosive device at Shandon Park Golf Club, Belfast on the 1 June 2019," the Garda statement said.

Head of the PSNI's Terrorism Investigation Unit, Detective Superintendent Sean Wright, welcomed the arrests by gardaí: “I welcome this development and it demonstrates the excellent working relationship between PSNI and AGS. The arrests should send a clear message to those involved in terrorist activity that the border does not provide an escape route.”

Det Supt Wright said: “Our two police services work collaboratively on a daily basis, sharing knowledge and information, to ensure that there is no hiding place for criminals or terrorists.”

He said his team continues to investigate the “reckless attack on a public servant” and said they have “considerable support from our AGS colleagues”.

The arrests come just a day after a booby trap bomb in County Fermanagh, which the PSNI say could have resulted in the murder of their officers and British Army bomb disposal experts.

The PSNI suspect either the New IRA or the Continuity IRA may have been behind the attack, with the Continuity IRA being linked to a similar booby trap attack in Coleraine, County Armagh, last month.

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