Strabane security alert ends after ‘bid to kill police officers with roadside bomb with command wire’
A security alert in Strabane has ended after a “roadside bomb with a command wire” exploded at the side of the road which was “designed to kill ” officers.
The alert at on the Liskey Road and Townsend Street was sparked on Tuesday and ended on Friday afternoon. Three officers escaped injury after the device exploded while they were on patrol. Police said the device was a “roadside bomb with a command wire attached”. Chief Inspector Ivor Morton said: “This was a complex security operation involving what can only be described as a roadside bomb with a command wire attached. “This device was designed to kill or seriously injure officers serving the local community in Strabane, but it was also left in a built up area where it could quite easily have killed or maimed members of the public – showing a callous disregard for the safety of the local community.
It is extremely fortunate that we are not talking about the deaths of police officers or members of the public today.
The blame for this incident lies squarely on the reckless individuals who placed this device . The overwhelming majority of people in the community do not want this type of activity and we as a police service will continue to work to bring those responsible before the courts.” A 20-year-old man has been arrested in Newtownstewart in connection with the attack .
He was taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite in Belfast on Friday morning for questioning. Mr Morton thanked the public for their patience. He said: I would like to thank the local community for their patience and understanding during the course of this prolonged policing operation. “Our primary aim throughout has been community safety and we are committed to doing this by working with the community . The security operation caused significant disruption to the people of the area, but was necessary to allow for a careful examination of the scene in order to keep people safe.
The scene at Ardanlee in the Culmore area of Derry where the discovery of a suspicious object was at the centre of a security alert . Several homes in the area were evacuated . Picture Martin McKeown . Inpresspics.com .
A bomb has exploded outside the home of a Northern Ireland police officer in the Culmore area of Londonderry. The device exploded as Army bomb squad officers moved in to defuse it just after 2pm on Wednesday.
PSNI and Army Technical Officers at the scene in Ardanlee, Derry, following the discovery of a suspect device. /Lorcan Doherty Press Eye Photography – 22nd February January 2017.
Police said it was fortunate there were no serious injuries or death. A security alert is underway in the area and the cordon extended following the explosion . Another security alert in Sion Mills in Strabane has now ended and Army technical officers have removed a suspicious object for further examination. Sycamore Avenue has now reopened to traffic and evacuated residents allowed to return to their homes. It is understood the Culmore device was planted under the officer’s car before it dropped off . It was then spotted by a neighbour. The device, described as “more intricate” than a basic pipe bomb, exploded as soon as the Army robot touched it.
District Commander Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said the device was designed to kill. He said: “We should be thankful that we are not talking about the death or serious injury of someone. “Shortly after 9.30am we were made aware of a suspect device at the home of one of my colleagues in Ardnalee, off the Culmore Road here in the city.
“We immediately took steps to ensure the safety of the community which resulted in 12 families being evacuated from their homes. “As Army Technical Officers were working on the device, it exploded . My colleague is someone who gets out of his bed every morning to go to work with the sole aim of ensuring the safety of the community and working to prevent harm in the community. “This is in sharp contrast to individuals who left a viable explosive device in a residential area with kids and families and the dangers don’t need to be explained in depth.
“It is our firm belief that violent dissident republicans are responsible for this attack.” The policeman is said to have been badly traumatised.
Superintendent McCalmont continued: “You can imagine the impact on someone who lives and works at the heart of our community and I am sure the trauma for him and his family is quite mammoth.”
PSNI and Army Technical Officers at the scene in Ardanlee, Derry, following the discovery of a suspect device. /Lorcan Doherty Press Eye Photography – 22nd February January 2017
“This was not a basic pipe bomb but something more intricate but more detail will be provided in time . It was planted there to kill and cause harm and this was an attempt one of my colleagues.” Residents have told the Belfast Telegraph they are angry a police officer living in their community cannot do so in peace. The Policing Board said the officer involved had a “lucky escape”. The organisation’s vice chair Debbie Watters said: I am grateful that the evil intent of those responsible for leaving this device did not succeed. “This officer has had a very lucky escape but such activity reinforces the continuing threat that exists for our police officers both on and off duty. “As a community it is our responsibility to ensure those behind such activity are brought to justice and I would urge anyone with information to bring it to the police or anonymously through Crimestoppers.
PSNI and Army Technical Officers at the scene in Ardanlee, Derry, following the discovery of a suspect device. /Lorcan Doherty Press Eye Photography – 22nd February January 2017 .
Superintendent Gordon McCalmont, District Commander, Foyle, speaking at the PSNI press conference following the discovery of a bomb under the car of a serving policeman. /Lorcan Doherty Press Eye Photography – 22nd February January 2017.
Chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland Mark Lindsay said: “This was a lethal device, capable of killing or maiming the Officer who was targeted, or anyone else who might have come into contact with it. “This was an act of cowardice . It was reckless and wanton, and displayed utter disregard for life . People who target and attempt to murder Officers have nothing to offer their communities or society at large other than misery and destruction. “The people who planned and carried out this attack should be ostracised by their own communities and by people who support the democratic path.
“It s worth remembering that this Officer was singled out because of the job he does, which is to protect the entire community and rid us of this terrorist scourge.” SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said the “cowards” responsible were “enemies of the Irish people.”
“They are enemies of the Irish people . Their malicious and murderous attempt to bring violence back to our streets has failed before and it will fail again.
My thoughts are with the police officer and their family at what will undoubtedly be a difficult time . No one in this city or in this society should be threatened for the public service they provide.
If anyone has any information about this attempt to murder a citizen of our city and destroy the hard won peace we enjoy, I would appeal to them to bring it forward. The DUP’s Gary Middleton condemned those responsible. He said: I utterly condemn the irresponsible actions of those who saw fit to leave these devices at the home of a police officer and in Sion Mills . These are despicable acts which endangered the lives of innocent people who simply go about their everyday routine.
“The intentions are to drag Northern Ireland back into the past by instilling fear and intimidation . Our community do not want to see this type of evil activity and this deeply disturbing incident should be unequivocally condemned. “Republicans will seek to use any political vacuum for their own agenda but they will not succeed .
Political stability in Northern Ireland is important .
Today we must all stand together to send out a message that it is unacceptable to endanger life in this way and we will continue to work to move Northern Ireland forward.
“As a community there is a duty to ensure this type of activity does not continue and I would urge anyone with information to contact the Police.
A shocked teenage lesbian1 couple claim they were told off for kissing by a Morrisons2 security guard – who said they were “putting people off their food”. The supermarket chain is investigating the claim that he shouted at the young pair: “It is disgusting.”
Chloe Arrandale, from from Eccles, and her girlfriend Louise Taylor, from Ashton, say they were stunned when the security guard took offence – and began ‘swearing’. The couple, who are both 18-years-old, were eating in the supermarket chain’s caf in Eccles on Thursday between 5:30pm and 6pm when the incident happened.
Louise says she simply put her arm around Chloe and gave her a kiss because she was “not feeling great”. However, they say their lunch date turned sour when the security guard – who was also eating in the caf at the time – began ‘shouting and swearing’ at them. They also claim he told them: “You should go outside if you want to act like that”.
Chloe and Louise were enjoying a lunch date at the time of the outburst (Photo: Guzelian)
“I want an apology from this man and for him to admit what he has done is wrong,” said Chloe, a college student.
“Love is love . If he has these opinions then he should just keep them to himself and not just go screaming at two young girls.
“All she did was sit next to me, put her arm around me and gave me a kiss because I was not feeling well . It wasn’t a really long, sloppy snog.
“I have been going to this Morrisons since I was young and the staff are always great.
“We come to the store almost every day after college .
We don’t blame Morrisons for this, as we have never had any problems.
“It was just the actions of one particular person.”
Morrisons is investigating what happened at the store branch in Eccles (Photo: Darren O’Brien/Guzelian)
The security guard had been eating while the couple were in the caf but was called away to deal with something after an announcement was made over the speaker system. The couple actually felt sorry for the man as all he was doing was trying to eat before he was called into action. It was on his return to the caf that they claim the security guard suddenly started shouting at them, leaving a shocked Louise to escort her upset girlfriend from the store.
Chloe added: “We get the occasional glances when we are out together or little shouts from childish boys but never had anyone scream at us before.
“Louise was just sat there quiet because she was in shock.
“I was so upset that she had to take me outside . We were both just really confused as to why he just suddenly started shouting . But later this turned to anger.
“It is 2017 . No one should be spoken to like that.”
Chloe’s mother, Beth Arrandale, was shocked when she heard what had allegedly happened to her daughter and her girlfriend. She posted on Facebook about the incident and shared it to Morrisons official page as well, before Chloe posted about it herself.
Beth’s post said: “I’m absolutely disgusted with the ignorant, homophobic and disgraceful treatment of my daughter and her girlfriend by staff at Morrisons in Eccles!!!
“All they did was have a little kiss (just a peck on the lips) whilst having something to eat in the cafe.
Chloe, 18, thanked her mum for sticking up for her (Photo: Guzelian)
“They were then confronted by an idiotic and clearly homophobic ‘security guard’ and told they had to get out of Morrisons, that they were disgusting and apparently putting people off their food!
“If they want to carry on with ‘that’ kind of behaviour then to do it outside!!!
“Nothing said to the straight couple though, who were sat next to them, who also happened to be cuddling and kissing!! !
It’s 2017 ffs!!!!!!! (sic).”
Morrisons have said that the individual was from their security supplier and that they are currently investigating the incident.
A Morrisons spokesperson said: “We take this allegation extremely seriously and we are raising it with our security supplier at this store to find out what happened.”