DUBLIN — Irish police have arrested nine men as part of an ongoing probe into dissident republican militants, they said on Saturday, just days after a bomb blamed on such militants exploded in Northern Ireland.
The nine men, aged between 19 and 71, were detained Friday in County Louth in the northeast and Counties Waterford and Wexford in the southeast.
"The operation and the investigation are ongoing," a police spokesman said, adding that a handgun, ammunition and what police believe are bomb components were seized during the raids.
There is no suggestion of a direct link with Tuesday's car bomb in Londonderry which injured two policemen and caused extensive damage.
But the Derry attack was blamed on dissident republicans seeking to undermine the Northern Ireland peace process.
Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said this week that over 50 people believed to have been involved in dissident activity had been arrested in Ireland so far this year and 22 are currently before the courts.
"We have taken out quite a lot of seriously dangerous people... and we will continue to do it," Ahern said.
Northern Ireland has been hit by almost 30 attacks of varying nature this year, including a series of car bombings or attempted bombings in August which targeted an army major, a policewoman and a civilian police worker.
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