A bomb planted by dissident republicans in the seaside town of Newcastle, County Down was defused today amid accusations by the PSNI police that the group had sought to kill members of the Crown forces.
The `Real IRA' planned to detonate the bomb as a PSNI unit checked out a false alert at a nearby hotel, the PSNI claimed.
Inspector Paul McClean said: ``We were led to believe there was only one device and they anticipated we would seal off the area where the real bomb was hidden.''
Explosives experts moved in yesterday following a phone warning that a bomb had been left at the Enniskeen Hotel, which has shut down for the winter. The hoax package was soon discovered, but a major security operation began when a detective spotted a device packed with home made explosives attached to a timer unit.
``Anyone could have been in the area and wounded or worse. This isn`t the first time this type of incident has happened in this area and we are urging the wider community to be vigilant,'' said Mr McClean.