County Fermanagh: Police escape injury in bomb attack

Dolores Kelly of the SDLP

Dolores Kelly of the SDLP

The device detionated at around 10.35am on Cavan Road, in Newtownbutler.

Hard border on the island of Ireland must be avoided and the backstop is needed to protect the peace process on the island, said a senior Irish official here on Sunday.

Police received a report that a suspect device had been left in an area of County Fermanagh, just a few kilometers from the border late on Saturday.

The road between Wattle Bridge and Clones Road crossroads had been closed since yesterday after a report that an unexploded landmine had been left somewhere along its route.

But the initial device found was a hoax.

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There will be suspicions the hoax device was part of a booby trap plan to bring security forces into the area prior to the detonation of the viable device.

The MLA for Fermanagh and south Tyrone said: "On a very basic level, we campaign for more police on the ground to tackle rural crime and yet here are republican bombers attempting to lure police officers to their death as they go about their job of keeping people safe".

Mr Martin added: "This attack was indiscriminate and reckless and, whilst there is no doubt in my mind that police responding to this call were the target, the reality is that anyone could have been caught up in the explosion".

Simon Coveney, Irish deputy prime minister and foreign minister, twitted Sunday that "Ireland has been respectful of United Kingdom decision to leave EU (European Union) from the start, but has always been clear that border infrastructure on Island of Ireland must be avoided".

Johnson also made clear that the Common Travel Area, which allows British and Irish citizens to move freely between the two countries and enjoy additional rights, would not be impacted by Britain ending European Union freedom of movement rules after Brexit, the governments added.

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"There is never any justification to use violence to achieve political aims", he said of the attack, which occurred close to the border with the Republic of Ireland.

Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tweeted: 'I strongly condemn the cowardly actions of those responsible for the bomb attack in Co.

Meanwhile, DUP leader Arlene Foster tweeted: 'My thoughts are with the police officers / ATOs who escaped injury in Wattle Bridge. While the 1998 Good Friday deal largely ended the period in Northern Ireland known as "The Troubles", police officers are sporadically targeted by small splinter groups of mostly Irish nationalists opposed to Britain's rule over the province. A clear and deliberate attempt to murder PSNI officers.

"Those responsible for this incident have nothing to offer society and need to end these actions immediately".

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