Northern Ireland

Letter bomb sent to second NI police officer

A letter bomb was intercepted at the Royal Mail's Mallusk sorting office
Image caption A letter bomb was intercepted at the Royal Mail's Mallusk sorting office

A second letter bomb addressed to a serving senior police officer has been discovered at a mail sorting office in Northern Ireland.

The package was found at a Royal Mail depot in Lisburn, County Antrim.

It comes hours after a device in a package addressed to the PSNI chief constable was intercepted at a sorting office in north Belfast.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said it was thought that dissident republicans were behind both incidents.

He also blamed dissidents for pipe bomb attacks on police vehicles in Londonderry and the outskirts of Belfast over the last three days.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAssistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said the devices were designed to kill

"All four, along with other attacks this months, have been designed to kill police officers," he told a press conference on Friday.

"We are very lucky we are not dealing with a fatality this morning."

An Army bomb team dealt with the device at Mallusk, north Belfast, early on Friday.

It had been addressed to Matt Baggott at police headquarters in Knock, east Belfast.

Later, a delivery office at Linenhall Street, Lisburn, was evacuated following the discovery of a suspicious object.

The police said that both packages contained a viable device.

Justice Minister David Ford said of the first device: "Those who sent this device have no concern whatsoever for the staff at the Mallusk sorting office, whose vigilance is to be commended."

Image caption The letter bomb was addressed to Chief Constable Matt Baggott

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said the Mallusk attack was "callous and reckless".

"Those responsible for this device have almost no support and have demonstrated a blatant disregard for the safety of those who could have been injured," she said.

"The chief constable undertakes a challenging role in delivering community policing in a difficult environment."

A spokeswoman for Royal Mail said: "The Northern Ireland mail centre at Mallusk was evacuated overnight due to a suspect package.

"Unfortunately there will be an effect on deliveries today and we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."

Police have appealed for the public to be vigilant and report anything that looks suspicious.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites