‘Diabolical and cowardly attempt to murder police and public’

Strabane PSNI Station. Pic by Google
Strabane PSNI Station. Pic by Google

An attempted bomb attack on Strabane PSNI Station was “a diabolical and cowardly attempt to murder police officers and members of the public”, the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) has said.

A number of residents had to be evacuated from their homes after an improvised explosive device (IED) was found in Church View, close to the police station, on Saturday morning.

Police Federation chairman, Mark Lindsay

Police Federation chairman, Mark Lindsay

Police said the “viable mortar type device” had been discovered on a wall by a local resident.

It was made safe by ammunition technical officers and was removed for further examination

A 33-year-old man was arrested under the Terrorism Act in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Condemning the attack, PFNI chairman Mark Lindsay said: “Once again, public vigilance and police professionalism have averted a disaster.

“These mortars are notoriously indiscriminate and inaccurate. Members of the public were just as likely to have borne the brunt of this savagery as our colleagues.

“What this thwarted attack tells us is that these terrorists are determined to kill – and to kill anyone, not just police officers. They are setting lethal traps with murderous intent.

“These republican terrorists want to deliver nothing but anarchy and suffering. They don’t care who gets in their way or the pain they inflict as they seek to attain the unattainable.”

Appealing for witnesses to come forward, Detective Inspector Andrew Hamlin said: “It is our view that this device was placed in order to attack police officers at the nearby police station but it had the capacity to kill or seriously injure anyone in the vicinity. This is not the first time a deadly device has been left in a public space recently and serves to remind us all how little the terrorists responsible care for the lives of local people.

“At this time we are linking this incident to the hijacking of a delivery driver’s car in the Mount Sion area at around 9.40pm on Friday evening. A fake order was placed with a pizza outlet from a phone box on Bridge Street and when the driver arrived at the stated address, his orange coloured Fiat Sedici was taken from him by three men. It was subsequently discovered on fire at Evish Road around 45 minutes later.

“I am keen to hear from anyone who saw the orange Fiat in the town or who noticed anything out of the ordinary in the Church View area on Friday night.”

Detectives can be contacted on 101 quoting reference number 371 07/09/19.