Belfast Telegraph

Dissidents have developed new under-car bomb, warn PSNI

By Allan Preston

Dissident republicans have developed a new high explosive under-car bomb, the PSNI have said.

The news came as the police announced two previous attempts to kill officers using similar pressure plate-activated bombs are being directly linked to the so-called 'New IRA'.

Six months ago, on February 22, a device was placed under the car of an off-duty officer outside his home in the Ardenlee area of Londonderry.

Police say the device contained what they described as "high explosives," a first for the New IRA.

Set under the wheel, the device failed to explode as the officer drove off to work, remaining undiscovered for a number of hours afterwards.

The unusual type of pressure plate detonator was used on one other occasion, less than two miles away in Ballyarnett village on October 13, 2014.

On that day a device was placed under a door mat at a house before a failed attempt to lure officers to their death with a hoax call.

Speaking yesterday, PSNI Detective Superintendent John McVea said the combination of the new detonator together with access to high explosives was a serious concern.

"My theory is that these two devices were probably built by the same bombmaker deployed by a local unit of the New IRA," he said. Regarding the February attack, he said: "This was an effective device. It was what we would consider a new method of detonation."

Previous car bombs have been attached to cars using magnets, thought to be more difficult now as modern cars are made with more plastics.

He continued: "The Ballyarnett device was not made with high explosives so it's concerning they have accessed them and have the skills to develop their own homemade method of detonation."

Mr McVea said the age of the explosives could not be determined at this stage, making it unclear if they came from a new source.

He also ruled out any link to the recently convicted dissident republican Ciaran Maxwell, who had hoarded bombmaking equipment while still a member of the Army.

A specific appeal was also issued about a light-coloured Toyota Avensis which was seen in the Ardenlee area on the night of February 22.

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