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Pipe bomb attack could have had horrific consequences

The pipe bomb attack on the home of a woman in Co Tyrone was a shockingly reckless crime that could easily have resulted in the death of this pensioner.

Mary Peoples (65) was in bed at her house at Melmount Villas in Strabane on Sunday night when the explosive device was thrown through a window and landed on her bed.

Thankfully, the pipe bomb failed to explode otherwise the consequences could have been horrific.

As it was, Mrs Peoples, a mother of seven who suffers from arthritis, was left badly shaken by her traumatic ordeal and no longer wishes to stay in her home.

Her 25-year-old son, Ryan, was in the house at the time and on hearing his mother's screams, ran to her room, lifted the device and brought it outside to waste ground.

Fortunately, the pipe bomb did not go off while he was carrying it and it was later defused by army technical officers.

The PSNI has launched an attempted murder investigation and has put the blame for this appalling crime on dissident republicans.

Certainly, Ryan Peoples, who has decided to speak out about this attack, is convinced it is connected to what he termed a `drunken row' outside a pub with a man who has links to dissident republicans.

He said that after that incident, he was warned by the PSNI that his life is under threat.

Whatever the background to this attack, it is chilling to think that someone in this area determined that a pipe bomb should be hurled into the home of a vulnerable woman, showing absolutely no regard for what could have happened.

No one in our society could be under any illusions about the potentially lethal impact of any explosive device.

Pipe bombs have killed and maimed in the past but we also know they are used to intimidate and threaten people, many of whom have no connection to the security forces.

As we revealed on Saturday, three pipe bombs from a stockpile amassed by former Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell were not deployed against police or soldiers but were used to target properties in the Co Antrim area.

While there was never any justification for the dissident campaign of violence, it is becoming increasingly difficult to fathom what these groups stand for.

The obvious conclusion is that they are lurching further into gangsterism and criminality.

They offer nothing that is remotely positive to our society and should leave the stage once and for all.

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