Northern Ireland

Crossmaglen: Man is injured in South Armagh explosion

Scene near Crossmaglen
Image caption The man was hurt in an explosion outside Crossmaglen in South Armagh

A man has been injured in an explosion outside Crossmaglen, south Armagh.

BBC News NI's Gordon Adair said it happened as the man was taking down a poster from a pole near his family home.

The poster claimed that a second individual was a security forces informer, or "tout".

The injured man has been taken to hospital in Belfast. Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy said there were concerns that he might lose an eye.

These were also the concerns of the man's mother, who confirmed her son had got married last year.

Mr Murphy said the man was being taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital for "specialist surgery", after initially being taken to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.

Police said enquiries are ongoing and on Wednesday night appealed to people in the Crossmaglen area not to touch any suspicious objects.

They said the man's injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, following the explosion on Corliss Road.

Mr Murphy said the man's family had been threatened recently by "criminal gangs masquerading as republicans".

"Police recently visited the family and told them there was a threat from this group," he said.

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Media captionSinn Féin MP Conor Murphy said the man's family had been threatened

"Now these people have attempted to kill a member of the family with a device placed close to their home.

"In recent months death threats have also been made against a number of Sinn Féin activists, including myself.

"Let me be absolutely clear; this was the work of a gang of criminals and I unreservedly condemn this latest cowardly action."

Mr Murphy said he believed the attack was "attempted murder" and described the backdrop to the incident.

Image caption Police said enquiries into the blast on Wednesday were continuing

"There have been a series of posters put up in the area alleging different people were informers attacking various people in the community - they were systematically removed by neighbours in the area and that's what leads me to believe it was attempted murder," he said.

"This one (the poster) with the knowledge that it would be removed, was put up close to this man's home and was booby trapped.

"When he went to remove it, it exploded and caused him serious injuries to his face and chest."

Newry and Armagh DUP MLA William Irwin expressed concern at the explosion.

He said it was clear there were "tensions within republicanism" in the area and said it was vital "that the community cooperate with the police to bring those behind such threats and attacks to justice".