5 held over Northern Ireland cop killing

2011-07-26 14:00

Belfast - Police in Northern Ireland arrested five people on Tuesday in connection with the killing of a Roman Catholic police officer in April during a surge of violence in the British-controlled province.

Constable Ronan Kerr, aged 25, died when a bomb exploded under his car. He was the first police officer to be killed in Northern Ireland in two years and was a victim of nationalist guerrillas who broke away from the Irish Republican Army, which disarmed under a 1998 peace accord.

More than 200 police officers took part in the arrest operation in County Tyrone, during which the men were detained under anti-terrorism legislation, police said.

"Today's activities are the latest stage in an ongoing investigation into Ronan's murder and related incidents," Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray said.

One man was charged earlier in connection with the bombing.

The 1998 peace accord largely ended three decades of violence but small groups of dissidents say nationalists betrayed their cause by entering politics alongside pro-British unionists instead of pressing a fight for full independence from Britain.

Police say the threat from pro-Irish paramilitaries is at its highest level since 1998.