Police lured into street before bomb detonated
Published 20/07/2015 | 02:30
Police in the North are hunting "would-be murderers" who lured officers into a busy neighbourhood before detonating a bomb designed to kill them.
Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process are being blamed for the attack which happened close to Victoria Street in Lurgan, Co Armagh.
Officers were called to the scene near a cross-border railway line after a phone call to the Samaritans yesterday claiming a device aimed at a police patrol during the early hours had failed to explode.
Homes were evacuated and a hoax device, which was not capable of detonating, was discovered.
However, during a follow-up search to declare the area safe, a suspected anti-personnel bomb designed to "take out officers on foot" exploded.
Superintendent David Moore said the bomb was "significant and absolutely designed to kill".
"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."
Police also came under attack with petrol bombs and bricks during the security operation.
Supt Moore said the murder attempt bore all the hallmarks of "violent dissident republican terrorists".
No one was injured in the explosion which happened some time between 4pm and 5pm on Saturday.
Rail services between Belfast and Dublin were disrupted for a time because of the closure of the line between Lisburn and Portadown.
"The professional, methodical and diligent way these same officers responded to this incident undoubtedly saved lives, their own and potentially those of local people who were placed in grave danger by the heinous criminals who planted this device," said Supt Moore.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said those behind the attack are entirely unrepresentative of the wider community and are enemies of peace.
"There is no place for militarist factions who merely serve to drag our society backwards," he said.