PSNI terrorism operation in Derry under way as part of New IRA bomb making probe

Detectives from the PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit have said they are this morning carrying out a search and arrest operation in Derry.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 8:17 am
Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray pictured previously. Picture Pacemaker Press

The operation is being conducted by the unit with support from District Policing and Operational Support Department.

Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, Head of Serious Crime Branch, said: “Today detectives from the Terrorism Investigation Unit have made an arrest as part of Operation Ledging. This is a discrete, stand-alone strand of Operation Arbacia, looking specifically at the New IRA’s bomb making activities as well as the group’s storage of explosive devices and equipment.”

Police said a man was arrested this morning under the Terrorism Act and will be questioned in Musgrave Serious Crime Suite by detectives, while a detailed forensic examination of a house in the city is under way.

Chief Superintendent Murray, added: “Operation Ledging is one of a number of ongoing investigative elements relating to the activities of the New IRA. Today’s arrest and examination of a house is a significant development, in a long term enquiry, into this aspect of the gang’s activities. The New IRA continues to pose a very real danger, most especially to the communities in the areas where they construct and store their bombs and guns.

“Previous investigations have shown time and time again that the New IRA has a callous disregard towards who it might hurt or what it destroys. We have witnessed on numerous occasions that they are willing to put the lives of local people at risk in their reckless haste to carry out bombings and shootings. Most starkly they have a chilling indifference to hiding lethally dangerous weapons and bombs in places where local people can easily stumble across them, unaware of the potential horrific consequences of touching them.

“We have witnessed this all too often in recent times when they have left explosives and weapons near to children’s play-dens and in the middle of housing areas – places that should be sacrosanct and safe.

“Our focus is on keeping the community safe and protecting them from the threat of these violent groups but we need the help of the public. Our chances of success are vastly improved by support and information from the community in relation to their activities.

“We have previously stated that Operation Arbacia is a longer term investigation that will look into every aspect of the activities of the New IRA in its entirety.”