Explosive device used to target police found in Co Armagh

An explosive device used by dissident republicans in a failed bid to kill police officers has been discovered in Northern Ireland.

Extremists claimed it had been fired at a police patrol but missed its target in Craigavon, Co Armagh.

A loud bang was heard at around midnight, police said.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) chief inspector Barney O’Connor said: “At this stage we believe the device to be viable and that this was an attempt by dissident republican terrorists to murder police officers.”

Renegades who oppose the peace process have killed police officers, soldiers and prison officers.

Parts of Craigavon, in Mid Ulster, have been a hotspot for dissident activity in the past.

The chief inspector said a call was made to a Belfast newspaper claiming a device had been fired at a police patrol but had missed its target.

He said: “We responded along with ATO colleagues and a suspicious object was located.

“A full security clearance operation was implemented and this is continuing at present.”

It is unclear if the device was fired at a passing patrol or if this attack was set up in such a way as to target those local police officers responding to the area following reports from the public.

Mr O’Connor said: “I cannot condemn strongly enough those behind this cowardly and despicable act of terrorism.

“They offer nothing to this community and their actions here do not reflect the wishes of the vast majority of the law abiding residents of this area.

“I would appeal to anyone who could assist our investigation and help us identify the perpetrators to please get in touch with us.”

Once the security operation has been completed, the device will be removed and will be subject to detailed forensic examination.

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