The discovery of powerful commercial explosives in north Belfast raises serious questions and is of great concern for police officers, the Police Federation (PFNI) has said.
Commenting following the discovery of 1.5kg of what is believed to be Semtex at a block of flats on Monday, PFNI chairman Mark Lindsay said the haul could have been used to make several under-car booby-traps.
“What is most worrying is how did Semtex come to be discovered in a block of flats in the New Lodge area? Where did it come from? Was it old stock?” he said.
“These are legitimate questions to ask, and I would like to be given some direct answers. Our officers deserve no less. There is a threat level that is rated ‘severe’ in Northern Ireland and finding this quantity of Semtex points to no let-up in the determination of terrorists to kill and maim officers or other members of the security services.”
It is the second time in the last two years that explosives have been found in the Maeve House complex.
Mr Lindsay added: “We must be constantly vigilant and aware. There must be no let-up or relaxation in our efforts to thwart and frustrate these mindless individuals. We need the continuing help of the public in what must be a joint community effort to rid society of this menace.”
The PSNI has said they are awaiting the results of forensic tests to determine if the “commercial explosive” discovered is Semtex.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he was “hugely relieved and delighted” that these explosives have been recovered and made safe.
“I’m disappointed but not surprised that there are still people within our society who believe that they have the right to attempt to point us all back to the past through attempts to kill people,” he told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster.