Northern Ireland news

Dissidents blamed for series of security alerts

A crime-scene investigator on Windmill Avenue, Co Armagh. Picture by Mal McCann

DISSIDENT republicans are being blamed for a series of pipe-bomb attacks in counties Antrim and Armagh.

At 11.30pm on Tuesday two devices thrown at a property in Armagh exploded.

Three people were in the house on Windmill Avenue but no-one was injured. The occupants were said to be badly shaken. The front door was damaged.

Police said they are working to establish a motive.

Sources say dissident republicans are responsible for the increase in security alerts across Northern Ireland. The attacks are thought to be linked to propaganda ahead of republican Easter commemorations due to take place across Northern Ireland this weekend.

Two more pipe bombs were discovered during a security operation that resulted in residents evacuating their homes in Rasharkin, Co Antrim. Families had to leave their homes in Moneyleck Park after the alarm was raised at about 10pm on Tuesday. A bomb was found on the windowsill outside a house. A similar device was thrown through the front window of another property. Neither exploded. Both were taken away for forensic examination. People were allowed to return to their homes yesterday morning.

Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan, who was at the scene of the Rasharkin alert, said more than 20 homes in Moneyleck Park and Finvoy Road were evacuated overnight.

“Those responsible for the disruption have shown complete disregard for the local area,” he said.

“I’m relieved that no-one has been hurt and these lethal weapons have been taken off the streets.

“I would urge anyone with information to bring it forward to the PSNI.”

People were advised to leave their homes in the Rathvarna Drive area of Lisburn, Co Antrim, on Wednesday afternoon after a suspicious object was reported.

British army bomb-disposal experts attended the scene. A crude device was taken away for further examination.

Lagan Valley DUP MLA Paul Givan condemned those who planted it.

“I have spoken with the individual targeted by a crude device and offered my support in the days ahead,” he said.

“Those responsible have nothing to offer our society and after meeting with people in the Community Centre it will only strengthen the resolve of this local community.

“Police will need to establish the motive behind this attack but tensions have been raised by this cowardly act designed to target and intimidate. I would encourage anyone to report anything suspicious they may have seen to police.”

A suspicious object which prompted a security alert in Derry’s Clon Elagh area on Monday was declared a hoax.

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