Three arrested after attempted murder of two Tyrone police officers

Police investigating the attempted murder of two police officers in Co Tyrone have arrested three men.

Terrorism Investigation Unit officers arrested three men, aged 36, 36 and 28, under the Terrorism Act after conducting a series of searches in Strabane on Friday night.

The two officers had been on patrol in Mount Carmel Heights on Thursday when a bomb exploded on the side of their vehicle, prompting police to pursue a “strong line of inquiry” into whether the New IRA was involved.

PSNI Deputy Police Officer Bobby Singleton previously said the location of the incident in Strabane and previous attacks made possible the involvement of the dissident Republican splinter group.

None of the officers were injured in the attack, which sparked a major security alert in the area that affected more than 1,000 residents and left some children unable to go to school on Friday.

Police said during follow-up investigations they discovered what could be a command wire for the improvised explosive device.

Mr Singleton said officers, who had been conducting routine patrols over persistent anti-social behavior in the area, were left “shattered” when they saw flash and heard a loud bang.

“They left the area, came back to the station and found evidence of blast damage to their police vehicle,” he added.

“Our thoughts are first and foremost with the two police officers who were here (on Thursday) night to serve their community.

“Fortunately, they are simply devastated by what happened last night, but we are treating this incident as a credible attempt to assassinate these officers.”

He said: “We have seen evidence of what we believe to be a viable explosive device.

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Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton, speaks to the media at the Strabane PSNI station. Picture date: Friday November 18, 2022.

“Fortunately, officers were not injured in this attack, but this attack took place in a busy residential area, it was absolutely reckless and any member of the public, let alone our police officers, could have been seriously injured.”

When asked who might be responsible, the officer said: “Given the location of the attack and previous incidents, the New IRA would be a strong line of inquiry.”

Mr Singleton said PSNI police officer Simon Byrne met local officials in Strabane to offer his support.

Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O’Neill said any attempt to kill officers was “reprehensible”.

She tweeted: “Those involved in this attack will fail to push back society.

“We must all unite against these reckless actions. We must keep making peace and moving forward.”

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “This callous and apparently premeditated attack must be strongly condemned.

“Attempts on police officers’ lives have been wrong in the past and still are today. There is always an alternative to violence.

“Northern Ireland is not held at ransom by fringe elements intent only on shedding blood and withdrawing from our society.

Taosieach Micheal Martin was in Newry, Co. Down when news of the attack broke.

He said: “I just had news overnight and we need further clarity as to what happened here and I understand an investigation is ongoing.

“But any such attempt to harm members of the security forces or the PSNI would be absolutely shocking and must be condemned.

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Army search teams, assisted by the PSNI, on the scene after the attempted murder of two officers in Strabane. Picture date: Friday November 18, 2022.

“It’s pretty shocking, if that’s the case, that something like this would happen.”

The PFNI said the Strabane attack was a “desperate, reckless act to murder officials who work for the entire community”.

PFNI Chairman Liam Kelly said: “The aim of the terrorists was to cause grief and misery and to take Northern Ireland back to the Dark Ages.

“We are grateful that the officers in the vehicle attacked by these cowards escaped unharmed.

“The attackers wanted their roadside device to do maximum damage, and we’re grateful they missed their target.

“Nothing is gained by such a callous, hateful incident. The terrorist threat is classified as “significant” and I urge all officials to increase their vigilance.

“This attack is a reminder to all of us that terrorists are still active in our community.”

https://www.independent.ie/news/three-arrested-after-attempted-murder-of-two-police-officers-in-tyrone-42157009.html Three arrested after attempted murder of two Tyrone police officers

Fry Electronics Team

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