Police in County Armagh have uncovered a significant amount of terrorism-related equipment and ammunition in a forest.
Component parts for mortars, including six mortar tubes, were found in a forested area at the Carewamean Road area of Forkhill following a search on Wednesday.
Detective Inspector Graham Orr, from the PSNI’s Terrorist Investigation Unit, says early indications point to dissident republican activity.
The explosives were found in a forested area off of Carewamean Road just outside of the village of Forkhill, which is close to the Irish border
‘Police were made aware of suspicious items and following a search earlier today, we discovered the items buried in the ground in a wooded area in a constructed hide,’ he said.
‘Our inquiries are progressing and a detailed forensic examination of all these items will take some time.
‘At this stage, it is too early to attribute ownership of these materials to any particular grouping or individual.
‘It is vital that people remain vigilant, wherever they are and whatever they are doing.’
The discovery follows a series of bomb scares across the United Kingdom this week.
Parts of Waterloo station and Heathrow and London City airports had to be sealed off on Tuesday after suspicious packages were delivered to the transport hubs, with one grey postal bag catching fire.
It is believed the ‘unsophisticated’ bombs were meant to ‘alarm’ rather than hurt anyone.
One of three suspicious packages, this one delivered to Heathrow Airport, went up in flames and caused a part of the large transport hub to be sealed off
All the packages were A4-sized white postal bags containing yellow Jiffy bags and appeared capable of igniting a small fire when opened, police said.
Another package, delivered to the University of Glasgow yesterday, appears to be linked to the London bombs, with another parcel at Essex University being investigated.
The possible link to Ireland comes just weeks before a ‘hard border’ between the Republic and Northern Ireland could come into force in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has recently refused to make further concessions to solve the backstop issue, saying it is up to the UK to solve the deadlock.
The IED bombs, aimed at major transport hubs across London including Waterloo station (pictured) are being investigated but have sparked fears of a resurgence in a ‘New IRA’ group
There are concerns that leaving the EU without an agreement on the Irish border could lead to conflict.
Components for a pipe bomb were found in Co. Louth, Ireland late last year, which required a Bomb Disposal Unit to be brought in.
Police later confirmed no explosive elements were found at the scene, which was believed to be gang related.
‘There is no place for this type of activity and the vast majority of people in our communities want to live in a peaceful society,’ said Detective Inspector Orr.
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Ireland will not move on the question of the Irish border and that PM Theresa May must come forward with concessions to broker an agreement
‘Due to the location of the find and the items located in it, I believe vehicles or machinery may have been used to transport the items and access the site.
‘The investigation is in the early stages and we are still working to establish the time frame but initial observations suggest that this is a more recent hide linked to dissident republican activity.
‘I would appeal to anyone who has noticed any suspicious activity or vehicles in the Carewamean Road area to contact detectives on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 846.’