Man arrested by anti-terror police investigating Strabane mortar bomb; searches ongoing

The mortar device was discovered near residential housing.
The mortar device was discovered near residential housing.

Searches are ongoing in Strabane following the arrest of a 28-year-old-man by anti-terror police investigating September's attempted mortar attack in the town.

Detective Inspector Andrew Hamlin from PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit said: “Today’s arrest and searches are linked to an ongoing investigation into a mortar device that was discovered in Church View, Strabane on Saturday, September 7, 2019.

“Whilst the device was aimed at the nearby police station and was undoubtedly designed to injure or murder police officers who work to keep local people safe, it was recklessly left in a public area, just metres away from a number of family homes."

The leading detective blamed the so-called 'New IRA' for the attack.

“The 'New IRA' were behind the attack and they demonstrated once again that they do not care who is hurt or killed by their violent actions. A number of small children were in close proximity to the deadly device and it is disgraceful that their lives were put at risk.

" A number of older and vulnerable people were also forced to leave the comfort and safety of their own homes," he stated.

DI Hamlin said he believed those who set-up the device were living in the community.

“I believe that the 'New IRA' members behind this attack are living in the community, amongst the people whose lives they put at risk. Our focus is on keeping the community safe and protecting them from the threat posed by these violent groups but we need the help of the public.

"Our chances of success are vastly improved by support and information from community as today’s search and arrest operation demonstrates. I would strongly urge people to report any suspicions they have about dangerous and illegal activity in our community to police on 101 or alternatively, information can be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous.”