Seven suspected dissident militants charged in Northern Ireland

BELFAST: Seven men in Northern Ireland have been charged with terrorist related offences after British intelligence service MI5 secretly recorded suspected Irish militants plotting attacks on police officers and judges.

The men, who were arrested a week ago in a house in the border town of Newry, were remanded in custody following a court hearing on Monday.

A police witness told the court that some of the evidence against the seven came from 70 hours of conversations recorded in the house in Newry.

The investigation targeted dissident militants who maintain a sporadic campaign of violence despite a 1998 political deal which largely ended over three decades of violence during which more than 3,600 people died.

A source told Reuters the group that was targetted in the operation was the Continuity IRA.

Five of the accused were charged with directing terrorism and membership of a proscribed organisation as well as conspiracy to possess explosives with intent to endanger life.

Five other men arrested at the same house on the same date have been released from police custody.

In a separate case, detectives in north Belfast were investigating a bomb attack on an armoured police Land Rover which Superintendent Muir Clarke said was a "cold calculated attempt to kill police officers".

The bomb was fired at the vehicle but bounced off and failed to explode.

Irish police seized guns and bomb-making materials in a series of searches against dissident militants in Dublin at the weekend. Two men in their 50s were arrested and are in custody.





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