PSNI looks for dissident link to bomb attack

Mon, Jan 28, 2013, 00:00

Police in the North are trying to establish if there is a dissident republican link to a bomb attack against an off-duty PSNI officer in Co Tyrone on Friday night.

The officer fired several shots during the incident in the Coolnagard area of Omagh about 11.30pm.

No one was injured in the shooting which the North’s Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, in line with normal protocol, is investigating.

The following day police discovered a “crude viable explosive” device at the scene. A British army bomb disposal team was called out to deal with the bomb while a number of houses in the area were evacuated.

It was reported that the officer fired a number of shots at two masked men who escaped from the scene.

The police representative body, the Police Federation, tweeted after the incident: “PSNI officer escapes death as bomb hurled into his home in Omagh fails to explode. Total disregard for both he and his family. Cowards.”

Booby-trap attack

The attack happened close to where dissident republicans murdered PSNI officer Constable Ronan Kerr in April 2011.

It also comes after dissidents tried to kill a police officer, his wife and two children in a similar booby-trap attack in east Belfast at the end of last month.

Local Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer said he was relieved no one was injured in the incident.

“I spoke to several of the evacuated residents and they are very concerned that such a sinister incident . . . has taken place in their community.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Ross Hussey said: “Those who carry out such sinister acts are only trying to drive a wedge between communities.”

“Now is a time when we should all stand shoulder to shoulder against terrorism, from wherever it may arise,” he added.