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More attacks planned on security forces: dissidents

CIRA claims it fired at police helicopter, but no evidence found


PSNI Area Commander Darrin Jones

PSNI Area Commander Darrin Jones

PSNI Area Commander Darrin Jones

Dissident republican terrorists in Fermanagh said last night they were planning more attacks on security forces.

The threat, made by the Continuity IRA, came after the PSNI said they could find "no evidence" any shots had been fired at a police helicopter over Newtownbutler on Thursday.

The terrorists claimed they had fired nine shots at the aircraft during a security alert in the Wattlebridge Road area.

Last night the PSNI's Fermanagh and Omagh District Commander, Superintendent Alywn Barton, said: "At this time, we have no evidence that a police helicopter was shot at on Thursday morning (January14) in this area."

But in a statement from the 'South Fermanagh brigade CIRA', the group reiterated its claim that it had attempted to shoot down a police helicopter - and warned that they were plotting further attacks.

The terrorists said they had been waiting to carry out an ambush on police personnel who attended a hoax bomb warning call for the Wattlebridge Road.

"More operations are planned for the weeks and months ahead," they said in a statement to media.

Calling on local people to be on their guard, Mr Barton said last night: "I want to reiterate my condemnation of this claim by violent dissident republicans and repeat the comments I made on Friday.

"I unequivocally condemn the actions of those who attempt to damage our communities with their criminal actions and claims, and who seek to disrupt policing and the daily lives of law-abiding citizens.

"We continue to work closely with the local community and our enquiries continue and I want to continue to appeal to members of the public living in, or travelling through the area to be vigilant.

"Do not touch any suspicious objects and report any suspicious activity or object to us immediately on 999."

Meanwhile in Londonderry, police issued a warning over suspect devices which they said may have been planted in the Ballyarnett area of the city near the Irish border.

The police issued the warning after receiving reports earlier in the week that devices had been left near homes in the Cornshell Fields/Racecourse Road area.

The Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Darrin Jones, said: "I am appealing to the public to stay vigilant and, if anyone comes across anything suspicious, call police immediately."

Ballyarnett SDLP councillor Angela Dobbin said she was concerned for local children.

"What I would be worried about is what if children come across these things?" she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Children are automatically inquisitive.

"There was a security alert in the middle of the week - but there's none now.

"That's what I don't understand.

"It's probably an elaborate hoax - but would you want to take that chance?"

Army bomb experts have been called out to assist police search regiments were called out 229 times between August 1, 2018 and July 31 2019 according to the most recent available government figures.

Belfast Telegraph