Northern Ireland news

Police ambush fear after Lurgan bomb discovery

Parts of the Silverwood Industrial Estate remain closed off for examination

A bomb discovered in an industrial estate in Lurgan may have been stored there in preparation for an attack on a passing PSNI patrol.

The device was found in the Silverwood Industrial Estate on Tuesday, close to a busy road often used by police.

It was made safe by army technical officers and removed from the area, which was closed for follow-up searches.

Police said they believe it was intended to be used in a dissident republican attack.

The area would have a known Continuity IRA presence and to a lesser degree links to members of the 'New IRA'.

Night-shift workers were evacuated from premises but those living in a nearby residential area remained in their homes.

Justice minister Naomi Long said those behind the device had "no regard for human life" and were "motivated by a need to create fear and disruption".

"Thankfully, due to the professionalism and expertise of security personnel, a potentially serious incident has been averted. I commend all involved for their vigilance," she said.

DUP MP Carla Lockhart said it was the "mindless antics of a small minority who wish to cause devastation and destruction".

"This has obviously caused local businesses considerable disruption. However as always, the stark reality is that when devices like this are left, lives could be lost.

"Our thanks go to those in the PSNI and security services who protect us from this threat and I would appeal for anyone with information to bring it to the PSNI."

UUP assembly member Doug Beattie said the device had "endangered the lives of men, women and children".

He also called for more information from police.

"This is a busy commuter route yet we still don't know if it was a booby trap-style device used recently in Lurgan or Craigavon or a pipe bomb," he said.

"I am struggling to know why this estate was targeted and where the device was planted. This is important for the public and I will asking the police for more information."

Sinn Féin councillor Catherine Nelson also said the information given to public representatives was "sketchy" and "disappointing from a police point of view".

"This was an unusual place for a device where there are workers round the clock," she said.

"I would be very concerned for the staff based at the estate in what was a reckless action."

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly also said a huge number of vehicles use the route and the attackers showed "wanton disregard and recklessness" for the community.

"All the pleas to dissident republicans to stop these actions are falling on deaf ears. I would urge anyone with information to contact the police," she said.

Detective Superintendent Sean Wright said police are continuing to conduct enquiries.

"The device has been made safe and it is fortunate that no-one has been hurt," he said.

"Police continue to conduct extensive investigations into what is assessed to be a terrorist attack by dissident republicans.

"Police ask for the continued support and patience of the public as we conduct our investigations."

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