A civiian PSNI worker escaped death today after a booby-trap bomb partially exploded under his car.
The man, a former member of the RUC, escaped unhurt after the device exploded as he was travelling to work along the Sweep Road in Cookstown.
In a major security alert, around 100 residents, a creche and businesses were evacuated.
Dissident republicans have been blamed for the device — the third attempted attack on security personnel in the past week.
UUP councillor Trevor Wilson, who knows the man, said it was a miracle he had not been killed or seriously injured.
“This man has had a very lucky escape,” he said. “The police have the area cordoned off and there is a car sitting in the middle of the road. It would appear it's an under-car booby trap.”
The alert began after the device was discovered around 8am this morning. Dozens of homes and premises in the Glenavon Gardens area, including a nursery, were evacuated while Army bomb experts examined the device.
The town’s leisure centre opened its doors to evacuated residents.
Last Wednesday a device fell from the car of an Army major in Bangor while a female Catholic police officer was targeted in Kilkeel at the weekend.
DUP Policing Board member Ian McCrea branded those responsible as “dissident scumbags”.
The Sinn Fein chairman of Cookstown District Council, John McNamee, described the incident as “another futile attack by marginalised individuals who have little support in the nationalist community”, he said.
“What these people should do is listen to the nationalist elec
torate who have spoken over the last number of years.
“It is totally uncalled for, and there is no place for this type of activity in today’s society.”
Mid-Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone said it was an attack on the whole community.
“I utterly condemn this latest security alert and the pain and anguish it has inflicted on not only those targeted but also the Cookstown community,” he said.
“Campaigns of violence and intimidation had no justification in the past and have no justification now.”
Meanwhile, the PSNI and Garda have been conducting a joint operation against dissident republican activity.
The operation led to seaches in the Crossmaglen area of south Armagh yesterday which recovered items a rifle and ammunition.
There were no arrests and the items have been sent for forensic examination.