Strabane graveyard bomb an 'attempt to kill police officers'

Houses near the scene of the alert have been evacuated Image copyright BBC (Keiron Tourish)
Image caption Houses near the scene of the alert in Strabane were evacuated and a number of pensioners were among those who had to leave their homes

A mortar bomb found by police in County Tyrone on Saturday was "an attempt to kill police officers," according to police.

Searches began in the early hours of Saturday morning in the Townsend Street/Cemetery Road area in Strabane.

The clear-up operation ended on Sunday at 20:30 BST.

A number of elderly people had to leave their homes and a graveyard was closed.

'Violent dissident republican activity'

The Police Service of Northern Ireland's district commander Supt Mark McEwan said: "We received information about a bomb of some sort just after midnight on Friday.

"This bomb was placed in a graveyard and positioned where it could be used to attack passing police patrols.

"The bomb was left with the intent to kill police officers. It could have killed anyone passing by.

"There was a complete disregard for the community. Anyone with information should come forward.

"No one has claimed responsibility. One line of inquiry is violent dissident republican activity."

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers condemned those behind the incident and said "terrorists will never succeed".

"The fact that those responsible were prepared to use a graveyard shows once again the contempt in which they hold the community," she said.

One man told BBC Radio Foyle he was angry that he could not get in to the graveyard.

"My wife died three years ago and I visit her grave every day," he said.

"I tried to get up five or six times but I was turned away every time. It's uncalled for. I can't even pay my respects."

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