PSNI targeted as Continuity IRA holds commemoration

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A device detonated inside a litter bin in the Kilwilkie estate in Lurgan, County Armagh, last Saturday close to where the PSNI were attempting to film those attending an Easter commemoration in St Colman’s cemetery.

Masked Continuity IRA members marched from the estate to the graveyard watched by a British army helicopter and police.

Two armoured PSNI Land Rovers were parked close to the scene of the explosion.

Shrapnel and debris were scattered over a large distance, but the PSNI later described the device as “crude”.

A crowd had gathered to hear a man in military-style clothing give a speech in which he called Sinn Fein “traitors”.

Earlier youths in Kilwilkie threw petrol bombs at police patrols.

Sinn Fein Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd said the attack was an attempt to kill police.

“These so-called dissidents need to come out and explain exactly why they are doing this. The planting of this device along a busy road on one of the busiest days of the year was not only callous - it was stupid,” he said.

Meanwhile, parishioners attending an Easter vigil Mass in Newtownabbey were left stranded while nearby homes had to be evacuated after a suspect device was left at the gates of a Catholic church.

It is the fourth time St Mary’s Star of the Sea, Whitehouse, has been targeted by loyalists in recent months.

Parish priest Fr Anthony Alexander said stranded parishioners and people living in pensioners’ bungalows had to be accommodated at a nearby leisure centre while British army bomb-disposal experts attended the scene.

The area was declared safe at about 12.40am yesterday after a controlled explosion was carried out and the device was declared an elaborate hoax.

Fr Alexander described the continued targeting of Star of the Sea as “horrible”.

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