Sinn Fein last night vowed it will not allow those who planted packages containing bullets and photographs of elected representatives in west Tyrone graveyards to derail political progress.
The sinister development, confirmed by MLA Barry McElduff, last night overshadowed the announcement of the party's Assembly election candidates.
It is believed the packages were discovered in two cemeteries in the west Tyrone region, each featuring live rounds and pictures of elected representatives from Strabane and Omagh.
Mr McElduff compared those responsible for planting the packages, widely believed to be dissident republicans angered by the party's forthcoming ard fheis on policing, to British elements who have in the past targeted his party.
He added: "Over the weekend, two packages containing a number of live rounds along with the pictures of Sinn Fein representatives in west Tyrone was uncovered."
The West Tyrone MLA added: "Over the course of the past 30 years, Sinn Fein elected representatives and members have long been targets of those within the British system and their surrogates.
"However, we have never allowed these campaigns to deflect us from our work in bringing about Irish unity and independence, and this latest threat will only serve to strengthen our resolve."
It also emerged yesterday that the mother of INLA hunger striker Patsy O'Hara will contest the Assembly election in Foyle.