Explosives found in flats

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A substantial haul of high explosives has been discovered in a block of flats in north Belfast.

A 47-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of dissident republican terrorist activity in the wake of the find in a flat at Maeve House in the New Lodge area.

The searches began on Wednesday night, and continued into Thursday.

Late on Thursday afternoon, PSNI district commander Chief Superintendent Nigel Grimshaw said: “Police believe this to be a significant discovery.

“It beggars belief that quantities of high explosives could be stored in a block of flats in which hundreds of people are living.

“I welcome the fact that colleagues from serious crime branch have taken this material out of circulation. It has been removed for detailed examination but we believe it to be high explosives.

“District officers will continue to work with colleagues and the community to ensure that everyone is kept safe from the threats posed by those individuals and groups who would seek to inflict death and injury.

“The search operation is continuing. We apologise for any inconvenience or disruption but we need to ensure that everything has been done to keep people safe.”

The suspect is being questioned at Antrim police station.

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said the lives of residents had been put at risk by the recklessness of people who stored high explosives in a flat.

“The people who had these explosives in a highly built-up area have nothing to offer the people of north Belfast.

“I call on those who did this to end their activity now before someone is killed or seriously injured.”