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high alert Army bomb squad called to Dublin Port after woman attempted to bring Soviet mortar launcher into the country

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(Stock image)

(Stock image)

(Stock image)

DUBLIN Port was sealed off for several hours this morning over a major security alert after a woman attempted to bring a decommissioned Soviet mortar launcher into the country.

The Army's Bomb Squad and anti-terror gardaí were called to the scene at around 1am after an Eastern European registered van was stopped by officials.

The vehicle was the subject of routine profiling by Revenue and Customs officers, who on closer inspection found it was being used to transport a mortar launcher.

Gardaí were alerted with local officers as well as members of the Special Detective Unit (SDU), who deal with paramilitary and other terror related threats, responding to the scene.

The Army's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) were also deployed to Dublin Port and declared the device safe with no munitions found. The weapon, a decommissioned Russian manufactured 82mm KRH 36Y mortar launcher, has since been sent to the Ballistics Section in Garda Headquarters for further analysis.

At this stage gardaí do not believe that there was any criminal intent involved in the importation of the weapon and instead believe it was being transported to a collector in Northern Ireland.

Gardaí are currently liaising with the PSNI as part of the investigation.

The female driver of the vehicle, aged in her 20s, was arrested under firearms offences and brought to Store Street garda station.

She remains in garda custody under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and can be held for a period of up to three days.

A Garda spokesman said: "An Garda Síochána has carried out enquiries with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

"An Garda Síochána continues to investigate the importation of this firearm into this jurisdiction."

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