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Dissident bombing campaign entirely counter-productive

While the focus in recent days has been on the chaos at Westminster and uncertainty over the arrangements for the border post-Brexit, violent dissident republicans have been seeking out ways to cause maximum disruption and mayhem in Northern Ireland.

A mortar bomb find in Strabane over the weekend was a stark reminder that much is at stake and there can be no sense of complacency over our hard won peace.

The New IRA is being blamed for the rocket which was discovered by a passer-by on a wall close to a family home in Church View in the Co Tyrone town on Saturday morning. It is believed to have been in place for eight or nine hours.

According to a senior PSNI officer, this was a mortar-type device which was designed to be fired into a police station but failed to deploy.

Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said he was 'astounded' at the recklessness involved in the planned attack, pointing out that the device could have overshot and hit a house.

We know that the dissidents who plan and execute these attacks have little regard for the safety of local residents, any of whom could have been killed or injured by this rocket.

The recent upsurge in dissident activity must also be viewed as a sinister and worrying development.

According to Supt McCalmont, this was the seventh incident of significance this year and presents a major challenge for the delivery of a policing service.

People living in the Creggan estate also endured serious disruption and inconvenience yesterday when homes were evacuated following the discovery of a suspicious object. The find came after police launched a search operation for bomb-making material in the area.

It is deeply disturbing that knowing the anguish and pain caused to families as a result of violence, including the relatives of Lyra McKee who was murdered earlier this year, small but dangerous armed groups are continuing to put lives at risk.

They must fully realise that trying to bomb and shoot people into a united Ireland will not succeed and in fact will be entirely counter-productive.

Anyone who can assist the police in thwarting this pointless and deadly campaign should come forward.

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