Six men, allegedly members of a dissident Irish Republican network, have been arrested on terrorism charges in Northern Ireland in the last week. The arrests come only weeks before Queen Elizabeth's visit to Northern Ireland for her Diamond Jubilee, and two months before the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Three men were arrested on Saturday, May 11, and another three were arrested on Monday, May 13, in a joint operation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and MI5, the U.K.'s Security Service.
According to ABC News, the men arrested on May 13, aged 41, 42, and 47, and were charged with conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to cause an explosion, preparation of terrorist acts and collecting information of use to terrorism. The 47-year-old faced an additional charge of "directing terrorism."
"Police have charged three men with a number of serious offences linked to a proactive investigation into dissident Republican terrorist activity in Northern Ireland," said the PSNI in a statement. "Officers have worked closely with colleagues in the Security Service and, latterly, with the Public Prosecution Service to reach a point where charges have been brought."
Recent years have seen dissident Republican groups mounting bombing attacks at both law enforcement and alleged drug dealers and criminals, in so-called "punishment" attacks.
Why all Irish men’s beards are red