Bomb at PSNI base in south Armagh

The PSNI police base in Newtownhamilton, County Armagh, was struck by a bomb attack late tonight.

The explosion took place at about 11.35pm. It was preceded by a telephoned warning an hour prior to the blast. Local fireman also reported hearing a round of twelve shots in the area, which had been cleared after a suspicious vehicle was identified.

The explosion causing considerable damage to the heavily fortified building and was heard in Newry, over 20 kilometres away.

The BBC said there were no injuries. A major military operation is currently taking place to seal off the area, in the heart of republican south Armagh.

It comes after an alert just ten days at the same PSNI base involving an abandoned car. On that occasion, a device in the car involving containers of flammable liquid was said to have been defusedn.

The attack came as the Westminster general election campaign has intensified. It also comes amid mainstream media reports claiming that the breakaway IRA groups have escalated their capacity and are working more closely together. Journalists, citing security sources, said that the groups’ engineering skills have improved, particularly in regard to the design, detonation and timing of devices.

The last major attack took place at the headquarters of MI5 in Holywood, County Down, which was claimed by both the ‘Real IRA’ and ‘Oglaigh na hEireann’ organisations. In February, the first major car bomb in recent years took place at Newry courthouse in county Armagh.

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