19/08/2019

Bomb Explodes In Co Fermanagh

Police officers have escaped injury after an explosion in County Fermanagh.

The device, which detonated in Newtownbutler this morning, has been confirmed as a "deliberate attempt" to murder police.

Officers were lured to the area by reports that a suspect device had been left at Wattle Bridge on Saturday evening, 17 August. Bomb disposal experts had been working in the vicinity over the weekend to secure the device, which was later declared a hoax.

The explosion occurred on the main A3 Cavan Road at its junction with the Wattle Bridge road. Army disposal officers and police are understood to have been at the scene when the device detonated.

Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin said the "indiscriminate and reckless" attack had the potential to kill police, ATO colleagues or members of the public due to its location on a busy main road.

"Whilst there is no doubt in my mind that police responding to this call were the target, the reality is that anyone could have been caught up in the explosion," he said.
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"We are extremely fortunate that the actions of officers who were first on scene meant that there was not serious injury or death.  I wish to acknowledge and commend the bravery and commitment of those officers and army personnel at the scene of this attack."

Meanwhile, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith MP commended the bravery of officers on the ground in Newtownbutler. In a post on Twitter today, he said: "I am following developments in County Fermanagh closely following an explosion earlier today. I commend the bravery of police and others working to keep us safe."

Chief Constable of the PSNI, Simon Byrne described the murder attempt as a "sinister development". He said: "I strongly condemn these actions and express my sincere thanks to both the Officers and Army personnel for their work in securing the area."

As investigations continue, the deputy police chief issued an appeal for information. He said: "I ask that anyone who may be able to help our investigation and identify the perpetrators of this sinister and potentially murderous attack to please come forward. You can call us on 101 or if you would prefer information can be given anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."



(JG/CM)


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