'Diligence' of PSNI officers foiled bomb ambush plot
Dissident republicans are believed to have been behind a deadly plot to lure police into the path of a bomb in a "clear and unequivocal murder attempt".
The attack was launched in a busy area near where children play.
The PSNI were responding to reports of a device being thrown at officers at Victoria Street in Lurgan when an explosion occurred on Saturday evening. No police officer was close enough to be injured.
The security alert began in the early hours of Saturday morning following a call to the Samaritans, during which the caller said a device had been launched at a police patrol in the area but had failed to explode.
Officers found a suspect object and evacuated families from homes in Victoria Street. While police officers were searching the area a second device went off.
While police were in the area they were also attacked with petrol bombs and bricks.
At a Press conference on the Lurgan attack yesterday, police said that the devices recovered "appeared to have been planted" and they did not believe any device was fired at them. While forensic tests are ongoing, PSNI Superintendent David Moore said the anti-personnel device was "significant and absolutely designed to kill".
"It bears all the hallmarks of violent dissident republican terrorists," he said.
He said it was not a question of "luck" that no one was killed and that police had experience in dealing with such terrorist plans to lure police into an ambush.
"We had already cordoned off and cleared the area," he said.
"No officer was close enough to be at risk or injured."
He added: "As part of that we did give consideration to the possibility there may be other devices.
Describing the attack as a "clear and unequivocal murder attempt" on police who serve the Lurgan community, he praised officers for their "professional, methodical and diligent" approach.
He said this "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".
Supt Moore, who also thanked community workers in the area for their help on Saturday, said that up to 14 families had to be evacuated from their homes.
"One family had to spend the entire night out of their home," he said.
"It is awful that people are put to such inconvenience. In a way I am glad it was only inconvenience and not casualties.
"We will not be deterred. We are back in there already.
"We have developed good relationships with the people in Lurgan. Lurgan has been transformed."
He added: "We work with the local community and our job is to bring Lurgan on from the past.
"We have made huge bounds in doing that and we will continue with that."