Police said Thursday they had arrested two more men in connection with the December robbery of the Northern Bank in which thieves stole 26.5 million pounds (Ђ39 million, US$47 million). Chief Constable Hugh Orde described the arrests as "deeply significant" and said there is "more to follow."
Police said a 40-year-old man from Dungannon and a 43-year-old man from Coalisland were being questioned, along with three other men arrested earlier.
Orde has accused the Irish Republican Army of stealing the money, but the outlawed organization has denied involvement.
Michelle Gildernew, a Sinn Fein member of the British parliament, claimed the arrests were "without doubt driven by the political policing agenda." The arrests came as Sinn Fein indicated that their leader, Gerry Adams, was in dispute with American officials about whether he will be allowed to raise funds during a visit to the U.S. next week. After the Northern Bank robbery and the murder of a Belfast man blamed on the IRA, the U.S. government blocked Adams and other Sinn Fein members from raising money during trips to America.
Orde said the investigation "has been very complicated and has taken 10 months but the analysis has been outstanding." "Five arrests is deeply significant and searches are ongoing," he said. A.M.