Device in Strabane, County Tyrone, 'designed to kill or maim'

Ballycolman, Strabane
Image caption Police had been searching the Ballycolman area of Strabane

A device found in Strabane, County Tyrone, was designed to kill or maim, police have said.

The device was one of two objects found during a search of the Ballycolman area.

Chief Inspector Andy Lemon said one of the devices had a trip wire attached. The other device was a hoax.

The search was mounted after police received a report that at about 21:45 BST on Thursday a bomb had been thrown at a patrol but had failed to explode.

'Cold-hearted'

The hoax device was found behind a pumping station and the viable device in the garden of a nearby house.

Chief Inspector Andy Lemon said: "The manner of this alert suggests that this device was targeted towards the officers dealing with the first device.

"However its placement in the garden of a house a short distance from a school just goes to demonstrate how callous and cold-hearted those responsible really are."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness ā€¸posted on Twitter: "Thankfully the attempt to kill members of the police service in Strabane earlier today failed."

'Logistical issue'

Meanwhile, East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has called for an Army bomb disposal base in the north west of Northern Ireland because of the numerous bomb disposal operations in that area.

"A high number of terrorist attacks carried out by dissident republicans have occurred in the north west area since 2009 particularly around Londonderry and the border area.

"There is a logistical issue regarding the time taken for the bomb disposal unit to reach the scene, this often means where a device hasn't exploded, homes being evacuated and people having to move temporarily to a place of safety until the device can be defused.," he said.

"Consideration should be given to having a secure base for an Army bomb disposal unit in the north west to respond speedily to potential bomb attacks. This kind of security response is required to combat the terror campaign by dissident republicans."

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