Belfast, April 20
A bomb was found in British-ruled Northern Ireland near the home of a part-time police officer, in what the British government described on Tuesday as attempted murder.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland said the bomb had been found on Monday near the family home of the officer in Dungiven, a town near the city of Londonderry. A security alert remained in place in the area as police investigated the circumstances.
“We are treating this as an attack on a member of staff who also serves her community as a part-time officer,” the statement said.
Brandon Lewis, the British cabinet minister responsible for Northern Ireland, tweeted: “The attempted murder of this police officer is absolutely abhorrent. I completely condemn the actions of those involved”.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bomb and the police statement did not speculate on who was responsible.
While a 1998 peace deal largely ended three decades of sectarian violence in the British region, police officers have been sporadically targeted in recent years with bombs by small Irish nationalist splinter groups still active there.
More recently, police have also found themselves under attack in street protests by pro-British loyalist youths angry at trade restrictions with the rest of the United Kingdom put in place this year after Britain left the EU.
Some 3,600 people were killed in the sectarian conflict that began in the late 1960s between mainly Protestant unionists, who want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom, and predominantly Catholic nationalists.
Michelle O’Neill, regional head of Ireland’s largest nationalist party, Sinn Fein, described the attack as attempted murder in support of a “regressive and toxic agenda”.
Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster, leader of the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party, said on Twitter that the region would “not be dragged back to bombs & bullets”. — Reuters