The ‘new IRA’ has said it planted two devices in the County Tyrone town of Strabane in an attempt to ambush PSNI police on Thursday night. It is the second time in the past two weeks that an attack has been mounted in the north west. A bomb left at a vacant house in Derry was also directed against the PSNI, it has emerged.
The group known as the ‘new IRA’ this week claimed responsibility for both attacks. It said it had planted an anti-personnel device containing a pressure plate in Ballyarnett in Derry on October 12.
The group said the attack was aborted after the PSNI failed to attend the scene, and it then gave bomb warnings to media organisations.
It also claimed responsibility for the device in the Ballycolman estate in Strabane this week, saying it was to be triggered by trip wire.
In a statement, the republican group’s Derry brigade claimed that “in both instances the PSNI used members of the local community to survey the scene before attending themselves”.
“This tactic by the PSNI is very deliberate and we take this opportunity to advise all members of our community, including community workers, to refuse in any and all circumstances any requests from the PSNI or local politicians to do the bidding of the PSNI in this or any other way.
“We state categorically that any injury or death caused by the PSNI tactics will be solely their responsibility.”
The group, which announced its formation in July 2012 after a merger of breakaway IRA groups, added that it will target anyone who assists the PSNI.
“The IRA remains willing and able to target and execute state agents, paid or not, and will continue to do so while the denial of self-determination continues.”
Local Sinn Fein representative Raymond McCartney condemned the attacks. He said there was no justification for any of the activities of those he described as “gangs”.
“They should disband immediately and allow our communities to work towards building an equal and agreed Ireland for all through entirely peaceful means,” he said.
In a separate incident on Tuesday, two elongated objects were found at the back of a doctor’s surgery in the middle of west Belfast. The 20-inch cylinders wrapped in cling film were said to have been found by an engineer inside ducting at the rear of the building off the Springfield Road.
The discovery triggered a major security alert, with an area around Crocus Street, Springfield Road and Hawthorn Street evacuated for several hours as the British Army attended the site. Residents who were evacuated from their homes and two surgeries on the Springfield Road were also closed for most of the day.
However, the two ‘suspicious objects’ which were found were not viable devices, the PSNI later admitted.