PSNI hunt ‘would-be murderers’ after bomb explodes
Gerry Adams says time has come for those involved to ‘cease their activities’
The Lurgan attack is the latest perpetrated by dissident republicans who have sought to destabilise the peace process in the North by targeting, and in some cases killing, members of the PSNI.
PSNI officers were lured into the vicinity of a no warning bomb that exploded by dissident republicans who were intent on murdering them, senior officers have said.
Those caught up in the terrorist trap were then attacked by crowds throwing petrol bombs and other missiles on Saturday.
The attack is the latest perpetrated by dissident republicans who have sought to destabilise the peace process in the North by targeting, and in some cases killing, members of the PSNI.
Sinn Féin joined the political condemnation of the attack in Lurgan, Co Armagh.
Party president Gerry Adams TD said the time had come for those involved in such violence to “cease their activities”.
“(They) are entirely unrepresentative of the wider community and are enemies of peace, political progress, and Irish unity,” he said.
“They have no strategy, support or ideas. There is no place for militarist factions who merely serve to drag our society backwards.”
Supt David Moore said the bomb was “significant and absolutely designed to kill”.
“This was a clear and unequivocal murder attempt on the policemen and women who serve the community in Lurgan,” he said.
The incident began when the Samaritans charity received an anonymous phone call on Saturday morning warning that an explosive device had been fired at a PSNI patrol in the early hours of the morning in Lurgan’s Victoria St area.
The caller claimed the device had failed to detonate, with the message presented as a warning that it was likely still in the area.
The alert was forward to the PSNI in Lurgan and a major security operation was put in place.
Homes in the area were evacuated and a suspect device not capable of exploding was discovered.
Once it had been examined and deemed to be non-viable it was taken from the scene for examination.
During all such alerts, police search teams comb the site of any suspect device find. And when that follow-up operation was underway between 4pm and 5pm on Saturday the second device exploded.
There had been no warning about it. And those leading the PSNI investigation believe the call to the Samaritans and the deliberate planting of the non-viable device were designed to lure the police into the Victoria St area and to keep them there until the no-warning explosion occurred.
Supt David Moore said his officers were now hunting “would-be murderers”.
“It is my belief that the phone call and the first device were designed to lure police into the area to be targeted by the second device,” he said.
“This was a clear and unequivocal murder attempt on the policemen and women who serve the community in Lurgan.”
He also praised those officers on the scene for the operation they had conducted despite the threat to their safety and the fact they were attacked by onlookers.
“(During) this operation police officers were subjected to repeated attack with petrol bombs and bricks by a small and unrepresentative section of the community,” he said.
“That this should happen whilst police officers were already placing themselves at considerable risk in the interests of keeping local people safe is deeply regrettable.”