Seven charged in major roundup of Irish militant suspects

Seven Irish nationalists were remanded in custody in Northern Ireland on Saturday on terrorism charges

Seven charged in major roundup of Irish militant suspects

Seven Irish nationalists were remanded in custody in Northern Ireland on Saturday on terrorism charges, in one of the highest profile security roundups in the province in recent years.

Four of the suspects, including a 37-year-old woman, were charged with attending a militant training camp and firing range near the town of Omagh.

The other three were relatives of prominent Lurgan nationalist Colin Duffy, who was acquitted this year of charges related to an attack by militant group the Real IRA on the army's Massereene Barracks in Antrim three years ago.

The suspects have yet to enter a plea.

The Real IRA is one of several groups opposed to the 1998 peace deal that largely ended three decades of tit-for-tat killings between mainly Catholic Irish nationalists opposed to British rule of Northern Ireland, and predominantly Protestant unionists who wanted it to continue.

Sporadic gun and bomb attacks by dissident Irish nationalist groups aimed mainly at security forces have intensified in the past couple of years.

In April, police found a large bomb near the main Dublin-to-Belfast motorway, and a smaller device was found under the car of a policeman's parents, the latest in a spate of attempted attacks on Catholic officers and their families.

Two brothers and a cousin of Colin Duffy appeared in a court in Lisburn near Belfast on Saturday, flanked by a dozen armed police in riot gear, to hear the charges.

Duffy, who walked free in January after a court acquitted him of charges he was involved in the shooting dead of two soldiers at Massereene Barracks, attended the hearing with several dozen family members and supporters.

His brother Paul Duffy, 47, was charged with "directing terrorism", a charge often levelled against groups suspected of involvement in international terrorism, but rarely used in Northern Ireland.

All three were charged with conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to cause explosions and logistical planning with intent to commit acts of terrorism. A lawyer representing the three men said their family was being persecuted by the police.

The four other suspects were charged at a hearing in Omagh with the preparation of a terrorism act, possession of firearms and attending a place used for militant training.

Two were charged after a detective testified about a recorded conversation in which they discussed the targeting of prison officers, firearms training and the acquisition of finance for militant operations.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Mayıs 2012, 10:30

Muhammed Öylek

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