Police attacked in Derry as they make second arrest in New IRA investigation

Police attacked in Derry as they make second arrest in New IRA investigation

POLICE carrying out searches in Derry as part of an investigation into the activities of the New IRA came under attack from a crowd of up to 60 people on Tuesday.

The searches were being carried out following the discovery of an AK-47 and ammunition in a vehicle in the city earlier in the evening.

Two men in their 50s have now been arrested as part of the investigation

While no officers were injured during the attack, a police spokesman described the scenes of disorder as 'disappointing and disheartening'.

Masked people

At around 6.45pm on Tuesday, an AK-47 variant and a quantity of ammunition were recovered from a vehicle that was stopped and searched in the Letterkenny Road area of the city.

The public safety operation was carried out as part of an ongoing investigation by detectives from the PSNI's Terrorism Investigation Unit (TIU) into the activities of the New IRA.

A 56-year-old man was arrested at the scene under the Terrorism Act 2000 and taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning.

Further searches were conducted later in the evening in Lone Moor Gardens and in Rossnagalliagh, which led to the arrest of a 59-year-old man under the Terrorism Act.

During the search in Lone Moor Gardens, a group of approximately 50-60 people — some of whom were masked — gathered at the bottom of Southway.

During a period of sustained disorder, officers and vehicles had fireworks, bottles, masonry and other items thrown at them.

No officers sustained any injuries, however, a number of police vehicles were damaged, with wing mirrors being ripped off.

Weapon taken off the streets

"Our officers were in the area last night for the purpose of keeping people safe," said Derry City and Strabane Superintendent Willy Calderwood.

"That is our priority and, through the public safety operation, we have taken a weapon off the streets that could potentially be used to cause serious harm or, at the very worst, to kill.

"The attacks on our officers are incredibly disappointing and disheartening, and I want to pay tribute to my colleagues for what they endured.

"They demonstrated courage and professionalism and restraint in the face of this violence.

"We understand and appreciate that operations of this nature can be disruptive, and we always work to keep any disruption to a minimum but, what we have seized demonstrates they are, unfortunately, necessary.

"The seizure from last night is significant and cannot be underestimated."

He added: "As the investigation continues, I want to reassure the community we will continue to work to keep people safe.

"That is of paramount importance. We remain grateful for the support of local communities and encourage anyone with information, or concerns, to contact us on 101."