Page last updated at 20:23 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 21:23 UK

Car bomb defused outside Newtownhamilton police station

The car was abandoned outside the police station
The car was abandoned outside the police station

The Army has defused a bomb in a car abandoned outside the police station in Newtownhamilton in County Armagh.

The device is understood to have consisted of a number of containers filled with flammable liquid.

It was in a silver Peugeot 406 left outside the station at about 0200 BST on Tuesday.

The cordon at the scene has been reduced and families have been allowed to return to their homes. A forensic examination is continuing.

Chief Inspector Sam Cordner condemned those responsible.

"Yet again these cowardly criminals have shown complete disregard for the safety of the people of south Armagh and for police officers who serve this community," he said.

"My thanks go to the people of Newtownhamilton for their patience and support during this operation."

More than 50 houses in the area, including homes in the Newry Street and the Commons area, were evacuated during the operation.

SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh, Dominic Bradley, said there were similarities to bombs left by dissident republicans which exploded in Newry in February and close to MI5's Northern Ireland headquarters in Holywood, County Down on Monday.

"It seems as if this incident has a similar modus operandi to that used at Newry courthouse and Palace Barracks in that a suspect vehicle has been left at the gates of the police station," he said.


"Newtownhamilton is quite a large, heavily-fortified station. If it were to explode it would do negligible harm to the actual police station but would be more harmful for other buildings nearby."

Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy said those behind the alert should explain to people how it will in any way advance republican objectives.

He said: "The reality is that there now exists a peaceful way to achieve Irish unity, republicans, along with the vast majority of the people of Ireland are committed to pursuing that objective peacefully.

"This latest alert has done nothing to further republicanism, it has simply disrupted the community in Newtonhamilton."

DUP MLA for the area William Irwin said he believed the attack was a response to the devolution of policing and justice.

He added: "The individuals behind this attack are badly mistaken if they think their reckless actions will derail Northern Ireland from the progress that has been made."


Newry and Armagh Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy said that those behind this morning's incident were experienced terrorists.

He added: "There are those who have emerged from what might be called the mainstream IRA and are still intent on pursuing their war and they are heavily influencing younger people.

"There's a strong view within the unionist community in south Armagh that these individuals, should and probably are known to the mainstream republican movement."

Alliance candidate for the constituency, Andrew Muir, also condemned the attack.

He said: "The public do not want this small minority to drag us back to the dark days when there were threats on a daily basis across the country.

"They have next to no support and I hope the community unites to call on them to stop."

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