Fully-primed bomb and gun similar to Lyra McKee murder weapon recovered in Derry
Derry City and Strabane District Commander Chief Superintendent Emma Bond said the items were recovered during a specifically targeted search operation over 38 acres of land in Ballymagroarty on Friday and Saturday.
"We were able to locate and safely remove a command-wire initiated bomb, a handgun and a quantity of ammunition.
"A strong line of enquiry is that these munitions belong to the New IRA. They have now been seized and will be subject to rigorous forensic examination in the coming days and weeks.
"The weapon found appears to be of the same type and calibre as the gun we believe was used to murder Lyra McKee, however at this time we are not in a position to say whether this is the murder weapon.
"The gun will be subject to extensive forensic testing in the coming days and weeks to determine if there is a link between this firearm and Lyra’s murder.
"Whilst we regard this as an encouraging line of enquiry, I will repeat that we cannot definitively say at this time whether or not this is the murder weapon. That determination will be guided by the forensics."
Speaking at a press briefing on Sunday the Derry police chief blamed 'violent terrorist criminals' for storing the weapons in the area.
"The fact that these items were left close to a populated area, and particularly on land where children are known to play, yet again underlines the total lack of regard these violent terrorist criminals have for their own communities.
"These people are so singularly focused on murdering police officers that they do not care if others - men, women, children, families - are caught up in their evil plots. The community is simply collateral damage.
"Violent dissident republicans are immersed in a constant campaign to kill police. This is the reality we live with every day, and yet everyday police officers come into work, they go out into communities like Ballymagroarty and they work to build relationships and tackle the issues that matter to local people" she said.
Supt. Bond urged members of the public with information to come forward.
"Support and information from the local community is vital to fighting the scourge of terrorism. Anything you know, or anything you have seen - share that information with us and help us put these criminals out of business.
"You can call us on 101, 999 in an emergency or information can be given to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”