Mortar devices designed to kill officers, says PSNI commander
Security operation continues in Cullyhanna area of south Armagh where explosives found
Police near the village of Cullyhanna, south Armagh, where a dissident republican-style morter device was discovered yesterday. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Terrorists who prepared to launch two mortar explosives in south Armagh had planned to kill police officers, a senior commander has said
The devices were discovered yesterday near the village of Cullyhanna, not far from the Irish Border.
Several families had to leave their homes and early this afternoon police were still involved in a major security operation to declare the area safe for residents to return.
Stormont Minister for Justice David Ford said: “Those who planted these devices had death on their minds.
“Their reckless and murderous actions contrast with those of the police and bomb disposal team who have been working to protect the local community.
“I regret the disruption to those forced to move out of their homes, but it is clear who has caused that.”
Investigators did not say what the bombers’ target was but it has been suggested it may have been intended to down a police helicopter as the missiles were pointed skywards.
PSNI chief inspector Davy Beck said: “We know only too well the death and destruction such devices can cause and there is no doubt that the intention of those behind these devices is to kill police officers who serve this community on a daily basis.
“We also know how inaccurate and uncontrollable these type of devices are and to leave them in an area accessible to the public shows the total disregard these people have for the local community in Cullyhanna.
“Their actions can only be described as ruthless and mindless.”