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Two alerts in one day for Lurgan

Army bomb disposal experts were last night called to Lurgan to tackle a security alert — for the second time in one day.

Motorists and members of the public were advised to avoid the Antrim Road following reports that a suspicious object had been left in the area.

The second bomb scare was announced little more than an hour after an object on the railway line in the town was declared a hoax.

News of the alert — the third in the town in as many days — came just 48 hours after three young children were slightly injured in a no-warning explosion.

Two 12-year-old girls and a two-year-old toddler were slightly |injured when a bomb went off in a wheelie bin on Saturday afternoon. Police were searching for a device near a school when the bomb exploded at the spot where officers would have been placing a cordon.

PSNI Chief Inspector Sam Cordner said the fact an object was said to have been left in one area, then a bomb exploded in a different place, “has similarities to the (1998) Omagh bombing that we would not like to repeat”.

Police came under sustained attack from petrol bombs and other missiles while investigating three other bomb alerts in the town, which were later declared elaborate hoaxes.

Army bomb experts have also dealt with a series of alerts in Belfast, Newcastle and Derry since Saturday.

And in Newry, a petrol bomb was thrown at a car belonging to Damian McKevitt, a member of the District Policing Partnership.

Saturday’s violence came just days after deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the government was holding secret talks with dissident republicans.

Meanwhile, a security expert has warned that dissident terror organisations could bomb targets in Britain for the first time.

Patrick Mercer, a former army officer, said Oglaigh na hEireann (OnH) wanted “to kill by the end of this month”.

Last night, there were also reports of a bomb in Bellaghy.

Belfast Telegraph