Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Friday, 19 February 2010

Mortar bomb left near Keady police station

Roads around the police station have been closed off
Roads around the police station were cordoned off during the alert

A mortar bomb was abandoned near a police station in County Armagh, police have revealed.

A security alert began in Keady on Friday morning after a suspicious vehicle was abandoned in Davis Street, close to the station.

The viable device was made safe and removed from the van for further examination.

Chief Inspector Ken Mawhinney said the device "had the potential to cause death or serious injury".

"Those responsible have shown a reckless and callous disregard for the people of Keady," he said.

No organisation has claimed responsibility for the mortar bomb, but dissident republicans are suspected to be behind it.

SDLP mayor Thomas O'Hanlon said a van was abandoned at about 0625 GMT, but said police did not cordon off the area until a number of hours later.

He said: "This junction is a busy cross-border route and it is not acceptable that cars were driving past what is a potential security risk."

Mr Mawhinney, who is Armagh area commander, said they had to "consider the safety, not only of the community, but also of my officers".

"Unfortunately, experience has demonstrated that criminal terrorist elements have used the cover of similar incidents to lure police into this area with the express intention of murdering police officers," he added.



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