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Arson attack was bid to lure officers into ambush: police

Polcie believe dissident republicans may have carried out an arson attack in Co Armagh to lure officers into an ambush.

A section of fencing was set alight in a field on Sunday, close to where a suspect device was discovered on the Castleblayney Road just outside Keady.

A security alert has been ongoing in the area since Tuesday after a member of the public discovered a beer keg with wires protruding from it.

Last night six families, evacuated when police sealed off a five-mile stretch of the road, were still unable to return home.

“Police were made aware at 12.30am on Sunday morning that a section of fencing had been set alight in a field in the area. It was dealt with by NIFRS. However detectives now believe the fire may have been started maliciously in an effort to lure police into the area,” a PSNI spokesman said.

It is understood a bomb warning was received on Monday and police spent most of Tuesday examining the area to rule out a booby-trap scenario.

Among the 30 people forced to spend a second night away from home were pensioners and a number of primary school children.

Speaking on their behalf, Armagh mayor Thomas O’Hanlon said they were “angry and frustrated” at the situation.

“They do understand that the police have a job to do. And given what happened in Newry recently and in Aughnacloy last week, people are aware of what’s going on,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“If the motive of those responsible is to get a united Ireland, I seriously doubt their mentality.

“They are so-called republicans and all they have done is drawn the British Army back onto the streets.”

The alert in Keady comes after a 300lb car bomb was defused in the village of Aughnacloy last Friday.

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