Northern Ireland news

PSNI give further details on CIRA Wattle Bridge attack

Army bomb disposal experts on the Cavan Road in Co Fermanagh earlier this week.

The head of the PSNI's anti-terrorism unit has said a bomb, which exploded less than a mile from the border in Fermanagh on Monday, had "detonated without warning".

Detective Superintendent Sean Wright, also confirmed - as was previously reported in the Irish News - that the Continuity IRA was behind the attack at Wattle Bridge close to the Cavan border.

Local people had expressed concerns about a lack of information from the PSNI about the circumstances of the bomb.

Independent councillor John McCluskey said residents of the rural community were concerned that there may still be an unexploded device in the area and asked for more clarity about the circumstances of the alert.

Damage to a concrete post on the Cavan Road seemed to indicate that was where the blast had taken place.

The PSNI have now confirmed the location saying a media outlet received a call on Saturday evening that a suspect device had been left in the Wattle Bridge area.

Det Sup Wright said police moved to secure the area "in order to mitigate the potential risk to the public".

"On Sunday morning, a full clearance operation began with the support of ATO colleagues and colleagues from An Garda Siochana," he said.

"During this operation, a bomb exploded in the area of the Cavan Road at its junction with the Wattlebridge Road.

"This was not a controlled explosion carried out by security services, it detonated without warning.

"This demonstrates how volatile these devices are and I am thankful that there were no injuries", Det Sup Wright said.

The CIRA, with the help off unaligned republicans from the Republic, were responsible for the bomb, which was similar in construction to a device left beside a bus stop in Craigavon last month.

Det Sup Wright said: "Our investigation has indicated that this was a deliberate attempt by the Continuity IRA to murder police officers and army personnel".

"Thankfully these terrorists did not succeed in their murderous attempt and police officers and army personnel bravely continued the clearance operation, working to protect the community.

"It was only once we were satisfied that no further explosive devices were present that a forensic recovery of the exploded device took place and the area around the scene was subsequently reopened", he added.

"A forensic examination of the device and its composition forms part of our ongoing police investigation.

"I continue to appeal to anyone with any information to come forward and speak to police.

"Those responsible for this reckless attack clearly do not care about their community and the lives of those who live in the local area.

"By placing an explosive device adjacent to a public road, it is clear that these terrorists do not mind who they hurt or murder", he added.

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