Northern Ireland

Ronan Kerr murder - five arrested in search operation

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Media captionPolice have searched residential and commercial premises, including a pub

Five men have been arrested and a major search operation is under way across Northern Ireland over the murder of police officer Ronan Kerr.

The 25-year-old Catholic policeman was killed when a bomb exploded under his car in Omagh on 2 April.

About 200 officers are currently involved in seven searches in Coalisland, Toomebridge, Bellaghy and Ballyronan.

The five men, aged from 22 to 46, were arrested under the Terrorism Act.

In Toomebridge, County Antrim, there is a heavy police presence with three police Land Rovers, armed police, two police cars and a police van at a pub on the Hillhead Road.

In Coalisland, a car was removed to be searched and there is a heavy police presence with landrovers on the outskirts of the town.

Before Tuesday's operation, a total of 33 searches had been conducted in connection with the murder in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.

The latest police investigation is being led by detectives from the Serious Crime Branch.

Image caption Arrests were made at a number of locations in mid-Ulster

All five men have been taken to Antrim police station for questioning.

Police said clothing, mobile phones, computers and cars had all been seized for forensic analysis.

Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray said: "Our determination to pursue every possible line of enquiry remains undiminished.

"The investigation is progressing and police have been encouraged by the support and assistance which has been forthcoming from across the community."

He appealed for patience and cooperation as the police operation continued.

Police said a £50,000 reward remains on offer for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Constable Kerr's murder.

Constable Kerr, who joined the police in May 2010, is the second officer to have been killed since the Royal Ulster Constabulary became the PSNI in 2001.

Dissident republicans were blamed for the murder.

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