Reuters) – Northern Ireland police seized explosives and munitions during a sweep of Irish militant nationalists on Monday, a week before world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama travel to the province for the Group of Eight summit.
Police have made a number of arrests of suspected dissidents in recent weeks ahead of the summit, which will take place at a hotel that one militant group said was the target of a car bomb plot in March that was foiled by police.
“Detectives of the serious crime branch conducting a search in the Beechwood area in relation to dissident republican activity have recovered a quantity of munitions and explosives,” a police spokeswoman said.
Londonderry is 100 km (60 miles) north of the G8 summit venue.
Security experts say the militants are unlikely to get past the security barrier to attack the G8 hotel itself but could attempt some kind of attack in Northern Ireland during the two-day summit.
Prominent Irish nationalist Colin Duffy is among a number of suspected dissidents arrested in recent weeks. He was later released.
There have been a number of hoax bomb alerts, including two near the site of the G8 meeting.
A 1998 peace deal largely ended more than three decades of violence in the British-controlled province between mainly Catholic Irish nationalists seeking union with Ireland and predominantly Protestant unionists who want to remain part of the United Kingdom.
However militant nationalists, who include former operatives who split from the IRA after it declared a ceasefire, still stage sporadic gun and bomb attacks and have targeted security forces in particular.
(Reporting by Maurice Neill and Conor Humphries; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)