Belfast Telegraph

Man arrested after bomb found in Northern Ireland border town

The improvised explosive device was discovered in a residential area of Strabane, Co Tyrone, on Saturday morning.

The PSNI have confirmed a bomb was found after a security alert in Strabane, Co Tyrone (Niall Carson/PA)
The PSNI have confirmed a bomb was found after a security alert in Strabane, Co Tyrone (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

Police have confirmed that a bomb was found following a security alert in Northern Ireland.

The improvised explosive device (IED) was discovered by residents, placed on a wall close to a number of houses and close to Strabane police station in Co Tyrone at 8:30am on Saturday morning.

During the alert, in the highly residential and built-up Church View area of the border town, people were evacuated from their homes as Army bomb experts investigated.

The object was examined by police and ATO and was found to be a viable mortar type device, which was made safe and removed for further examination.

A 33-year-old man was arrested under the Terrorism Act in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Detectives are now appealing to the public for information after initial investigations lead police to believe a ruse involving a fake takeaway order and a stolen delivery van was involved.

Detective Inspector Andrew Hamlin said: “It is our view that that this device was placed in order to attack police officers at the nearby police station but it had the capacity to kill or seriously injure anyone in the vicinity.

“This is not the first time a deadly device has been left in a public space recently and serves to remind us all how little the terrorists responsible care for the lives of local people.

“At this time we are linking this incident to the hijacking of a delivery driver’s car in the Mount Sion area at around 9.40pm on Friday evening.

“A fake order was placed with a pizza outlet from a phone box on Bridge Street and when the driver arrived at the stated address, his orange coloured Fiat Sedici was taken from him by three men.

“It was subsequently discovered on fire at Evish Road around 45 minutes later.

“I am keen to hear from anyone who saw the orange Fiat in the town or who noticed anything out of the ordinary in the Church View area on Friday night.

Detectives can be contacted on 101 quoting reference number 371 07/09/19.

Political representatives condemned the alert, including Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith, in which pensioners forced were to leave their homes.

Writing on social media, Mr Smith said: “The device found in #Strabane this weekend continues to demonstrate the utter disregard terrorists have for those who endeavour to keep us safe and for the communities caught up in the disruption.

“It’s disgraceful. There’s no place in society for those who carry out such actions.”

Those behind this alert have nothing to offer the people of Strabane and have no support Orfhlaith Begley

Local Sinn Fein MP Orfhlaith Begley said: “This security alert in the Church View area of Strabane has brought nothing but disruption to the local community.

“People have had to leave their homes as a result of this security alert and have been severely inconvenienced.

“Those behind this alert have nothing to offer the people of Strabane and have no support.

“These actions need to end immediately.”

SDLP West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan branded the alert a disgrace as it happened on Saturday.

“There is no place for these criminals on the streets of our town. They need to get off our streets and get off the back of people living here.

Those responsible must be flushed out of this community and they should face justice for their attempt to murder and maim our friends and neighbours Daniel McCrossan

“Thanks to the residents who discovered the device and the actions of police, we aren’t dealing with a tragedy this morning.

“But those responsible must be flushed out of this community and they should face justice for their attempt to murder and maim our friends and neighbours.

“There is a duty on anyone who has any information about this to come forward to police as soon as possible.

“The people behind this will do it again, they will put the lives of people in our community at risk.

“We all have to take a stand and stop them.”

Residents have since been allowed back into their homes and the security alert is now over.

PA

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