Northern Ireland news

Continuity IRA claims it was behind attempt to kill police

The weapon recovered in Dunmurry before Christmas last year
Connla Young

THE Continuity IRA has claimed responsibility for a failed attempt to kill police near Belfast last year.

In a statement, the republican group said it was behind a planned attack on officers in Dunmurry, on the outskirts of west Belfast, in December.

Fresh details of two other attempted attacks in Co Fermanagh and Co Armagh in recent months have also emerged.

Using a recognised codeword, the group also denied any involvement in the abduction and brutal attack on Co Fermanagh businessman Kevin Lunney last month.

Mr Lunney was abducted from his home in Derrylin by four masked men and subjected to a savage beating before being dumped across the border in Co Cavan.

The organisation said it “had no involvement in relation to any goings on in Fermanagh concerning Kevin Lunney and the Quinn Group”.

“None of the local volunteers are involved... it’s not any action that would be sanctioned by the ‘Army Council’.

“As far as we see it it’s none of our business – what’s going on between the Quinn Group and others. We want no part in it.”

The attack on the businessman came just weeks after the Continuity IRA attempted to kill PSNI members in the Wattle Bridge area of Fermanagh.

The group had previously claimed responsibility for that and another failed attempt to kill police in Craigavon in July.

Fresh details of both incidents have now emerged.

It is understood that prior to the Fermanagh incident the group had set up fake alerts in Wattle Bridge to observe how police reacted.

A source said a hoax device including a command wire had been set up on hay bales “and that was designed to draw them [police] in”.

The source added that a bomb had also been placed in the area and a warning call was then made to a newsroom.

The CIRA claims that a command wire leading to the hoax device was spotted by someone who contacted police.

The source claims that police arrived at the scene before a warning had been made to the newsroom and that the bomb detonated within the police cordon “when it was intended” to.

It has been claimed that damage caused to a nearby concrete gatepost resulted from a shrapnel strike.

It has also been confirmed that that “propellant” was used in a dummy mortar tube during an attempted attack in Craigavon in July.

It is understood the tube was set up to look like a horizontal mortar and the “propellant” was intended to create the sound of an explosion intended to draw police into the area.

The actual bomb had been placed inside a concrete slab on which the tube was resting and would have detonated once moved.

However, it was detected before it exploded.

The group also claimed responsibility for at attempt to kill police in Dunmurry on the outskirts of west Belfast days before Christmas last year.

According to the group the horizontal-style device was intended to fire a single .50 calibre round at a passing police patrol.

The weapon was discovered in the Upper Dunmurry Lane area on December 11 following a four-day security operation.

The improvised device had been set up on a small trestle and had been engaged but failed to go off.

SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly last night condemned the attacks.

“These are only the attacks we know about – we don’t know about attacks stopped because of the intervention of police.”

She added that it is “in everybody’s interests” that paramilitary groups are stopped.

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