Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Monday, 18 August 2008 14:20 UK

Semtex used in dissident attack

Semtex was regularly used by the Provisional IRA

Semtex was used in a dissident republican attack on police in County Fermanagh, a senior detective has said.

Two police officers were treated for shock and one for minor injuries following Saturday's attack on a PSNI foot patrol in Lisnaskea.

An attempt was made to fire an improvised rocket-propelled grenade, but it failed to leave the launcher.

It is the first time dissidents have used Semtex, a commercial explosive previously used by the Provisional IRA.

A senior policeman has warned dissident republican attacks in recent months could have killed seven police officers.

'Old stocks'

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton said he did not know where the Semtex had come from, but "for me it looks as if it came from old stocks".

"As far as I am aware it is the first time they have used Semtex.

"It does not appear to be new Semtex, so it does not raise a concern with me that they have a new supply of Semtex."


DCC Leighton said he did not know how the plastic explosives ended up in the hands of dissident republicans.

"It is significant in the sense that there was Semtex in the explosive charge. It did not go off but there was Semtex there - where it came from I don't know," he said.

"It is similar to devices that used to be used in the province by other groups."

Fermanagh Ulster Unionist assembly member Tom Elliot said the Army should return to the streets to combat the dissident threat.

"We've had attempted murders in Londonderry and Dungannon and Spamount and now Lisnaskea.

"I'm not so sure with the reduction of police resources in the province and the removal of the Army that the PSNI have the resources at this present time to deal with this escalation, and if it's not nipped in the bud very quickly it will get worse.

"I think if the police don't have the resources themselves, they may need to bring the Army back in for a short period," he said.

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