Omagh officer was 'targeted for weeks'

Published Monday, 28 January 2013
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A local UUP MLA has said he believes that a police officer was targeted for weeks by dissident republicans after a bomb was found at his home in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Omagh officer was 'targeted for weeks'
Police are investigating after a bomb was found outside an officer''s home. (© Pacemaker)

A crude, viable pipe bomb type device was discovered during a security operation in the Coolnagard area of the Co Tyrone town on Saturday.

It was found after an incident on Friday when the officer fired two shots at two masked men at the rear of his house.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland said the device was "hurled into his home", however, it failed to explode.

No one was injured, but the Police Ombudsman has launched an investigation after the officer opened fire.

PSNI have carried out door to door inquiries to try and establish what happened.

A number of homes had to be evacuated on Saturday while searches were carried out in the area.

The policeman, who owns the house, had previously been stationed in Omagh, but had been transferred to another policing district.

It is understood he no longer lives in the house but was carrying out repairs at the time of the attack.

West Tyrone UUP MLA Ross Hussey said he believes republican paramilitaries had been gathering intelligence on him for some time.

"It's my opinion, this police officer was targeted, they knew where he lived and he was their specific target," he said.

"The device that was found at the house was a viable, improvised explosive device. Had it exploded at or near the police officer, it would either have killed him or seriously injured him.

"Had it been found in a back garden and a child picked it up, we'd have been sitting here today talking about the death of a child."

Police have appealed for anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area last Friday or over the past few months to contact them.

It has been less than two years since dissident republicans used a bomb to kill a police officer in Omagh.

Constable Ronan Kerr, who was 25, died when a booby-trap device exploded under his car in April 2011.

Sinn Féin Councillor Sean Begley told UTV: "In the recent past, after the murder of Ronan Kerr, we saw [that] the people of Omagh came out on the streets - people from all backgrounds, people from all types of society - and actually sent out a very clear message on behalf of the people of Omagh that this type of activity wasn't acceptable."

© UTV News
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4 Comments
Ciaran in Armagh wrote (544 days ago):
Does anyone else get really irritated by the carefully chosen ever so slightly offended words of so many Sinn Fein representatives like Sean Begley "that this type of activity wasn't acceptable" You would think it was a comment about badly parked cars in Omagh. This type of activity is cowardly attempted murder. Think "that this type of activity is the work of psychopathic cowards, and I call for everyone in the nationalist and republican communities to do their patriotic duty and assist the police in every way possible to put these terrorists behind bars" Why is that so hard to be so clear?
realistic in planet earth wrote (544 days ago):
WHAT do these perpetrators hope to achieve by this sort of cowardly act?? These aren't freedom fighters or heroes, they're small minded idiots. Glad this attacked failed, and I hope the cowards are caught and locked up - they have NOTHING to offer any right thinking people!
Belfast in Belfast wrote (544 days ago):
Wot about peace wot about the good friday agreement dont these people realise they are someones son daughter husband wife if it was one of the there families would they put a bomb there mind boggles but then if politicians promise to deliver wot was done in the good friday agreement then we wouldnt have this discussion now would we ?
Eamo in Belfast wrote (544 days ago):
This is wrong the republican community should all be behind marty and free the six counties through the ballot box
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