Strabane pipe bomb could have killed

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Police in Strabane say an security alert at the weekend was a “deliberate attempt to kill police officers” in the town.

During the incident a member of the public moved the viable pipe bomb placing it at waste ground at the old Adria factory site.

The alert ended early on Monday morning.

The security operation focused on the Ballycolman Estate, where shortly after 8.25pm police responded to reports of a device being thrown at officers in the area.

Army Technical Officers were tasked to the scene and carried out a controlled explosion on what they described as a “viable pipe bomb type device.”

Chief Inspector Andy Lemon, Area Commander for Strabane said: “This was not only a deliberate attempt to kill police officers but was an attack on the community of Strabane, and it is very fortunate that no-one, either police or civilian was seriously injured.

“Had this device exploded it could have killed or maimed anyone close by.

“Those responsible showed total disregard for the local community and put the lives of local people in the area at risk.

“I would like to thank the local residents in the Ballycolman Estate and wider community for their patience and support throughout this operation and I want to reassure them that we will not be deterred by this attack.

“We will continue to deliver the personal, professional and protective service that the vast majority of residents in Strabane want to see.

“I would appeal to anyone with any information to contact detectives on 0845 600 8000. If someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Addressing those responsible for throwing the pipebomb directly, Patsy Kelly of the SDLP said: “There is nothing to be achieved by these actions. I hope they are a one off action. No one wants to go back to the troubles.

“These people are not wanted in Strabane, do not represent Strabane and are not welcome in the community. They should leave the people alone.”