Bomb found in abandoned car in County Fermanagh

Police said the bomb was destined for Lisnaskea PSNI station Police said the bomb was destined for Lisnaskea PSNI station

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A bomb found in a car in County Fermanagh was probably destined for a police station in the area, the Police Service of Northern Ireland has said.

The device contained 60kg of home-made explosives packed into a beer keg.

The security forces examined the vehicle after it was abandoned on the Derrylin Road, outside Enniskillen, on Friday.

District Commander Pauline Shields said it was fortunate no-one was killed or injured.

Homes evacuated

The alert began at about 04:00 GMT on Friday morning, when officers received a report that a car had been abandoned on the Derrylin Road, close to the border with the Republic of Ireland.

Homes in the area were evacuated during the security operation, which continued until about 11:00 GMT on Saturday.

The bomb was defused 16 miles away from the County Fermanagh hotel resort which is due to host the G8 summit in June.

The BBC's Ireland correspondent, Andy Martin, said it was believed the heavy police presence in the run up to the summit may have caused those transporting the bomb to abandon the vehicle.

In recent years, dissident republic paramilitaries have carried out attacks on police stations across Northern Ireland, including failed mortar bomb attempts in Belfast and Londonderry within the past month.

'Complex operation'

DC Shields said the bomb may have been destined for Lisnaskea police station.

"Once again, our community has been disrupted and the lives of residents put at risk by an element intent on causing loss of life and disruption," she said.

"The people responsible for this have no regard for the lives of anyone in our community.

Start Quote

Acts like this only serve to strengthen our resolve against those terrorists who have nothing to offer Northern Ireland except mayhem and destruction.”

End Quote Theresa Villiers Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

"The people who carried out this act are not part of the society within which the majority of people of Northern Ireland wish to live.

"The subsequent complex operation has tied up resources that would otherwise be dealing with community issues.

"Although investigations are at an early stage, it is our assessment at present, that this vehicle was destined for Lisnaskea PSNI station", DC Shields said.

'Mayhem'

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers paid tribute to the "professionalism and bravery" of the officers who dealt with the bomb.

"The abandoned device dealt with by PSNI sadly reminds us that there are still a small minority who are determined to damage communities and cause death and disruption," she said.

"Those responsible for it have neither mandate nor legitimacy; they are totally out of touch with what the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland want.

"Acts like this only serve to strengthen our resolve against those terrorists who have nothing to offer Northern Ireland except mayhem and destruction," Ms Villiers said.

'Murderous intent'

Arlene Foster, MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, said people in the area were "completely outraged" by the bomb attempt.

The DUP representative said she condemned those responsible, "not only for the disruption they have caused in the immediate area, but I also condemn them for their murderous intent".

"I also want to commend the police, locally, for their marvellous work. Obviously they have been working very hard and have managed to find intelligence so that they could stop this bomb from becoming a reality," Mrs Foster added.

The chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board said he was thankful that the device did not reach its intended destination.

Brian Rea said: "Yet again lives in the community have been put at risk by a minority whose actions are unwanted by the majority.

"In dealing with the device the police and army bomb disposal experts had to work in very difficult conditions and we are very grateful for the work they do on our behalf."

The police have appealed for information.

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