Two arrested in investigation into bomb attack on police officer

Police at the scene of the bomb alert in Dungiven, Co Londonderry. Credit: UTV

Two men have been arrested by detectives investigating the attempted murder of a female police officer who had a fireball bomb planted near her car in Dungiven, Co Londonderry.

The men, aged 36 and 26, are being held under the Terrorism Act.

Detective Superintendent Richard Campbell, Head of the PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit, said: “Terrorism Investigation Unit detectives today arrested two men under the Terrorism Act in Derry/Londonderry in connection with the viable device which was discovered beside the young mother’s car in Ballyquin Road, Dungiven on Monday 19 April.

“A 36-year-old man, who was arrested in the Lettershandoney area, and a 26-year-old man, who was arrested in Creggan area, have been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite where they are being questioned by detectives.”

Meanwhile, detectives have launched the Major Incident Public Portal as part of their investigation into the bomb attack.

The device, found in the Ballyquin Road area on Monday, had explosives attached to a container of flammable liquid and was designed to engulf the car and anyone in or near the vehicle.

“What is really distressing is the terrorists placed the bomb at the rear of the car directly at the point where the victim’s three-year-old daughter sits,” PSNI Detective Superintendent Richard Campbell said.

“It demonstrates the complete and utter disregard those who planted it had for the life of a mother and her very young daughter.”

The little girl’s car seat was in the vehicle and those responsible for planting the device would have been aware of it.

The woman targeted in the attack is a member of PSNI staff and also a part-time police officer.

There has been cross-party condemnation of the incident, led by First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis and Taoiseach Micheál Martin have also branded the attack “absolutely abhorrent” and “deeply reprehensible”.

Police say they are aware a claim of responsibility has been made on behalf of the New IRA and it is a “strong line of enquiry”, but detectives are keeping an open mind.

“I appeal to anyone who has any knowledge of this attack, or indeed of anyone involved in dissident republican or other violent or terrorist activity to come forward and provide any information they have to the police,” DS Campbell said.

“We all need to work together to bring those responsible for attempting to kill a three-year-old child and her mother to justice.”

Investigations into the bomb attack are continuing. Credit: Presseye

Police particularly want to hear from anyone who was in the Ballyquin Road area of Dungiven between Monday 12 and Monday 19 April.

The Major Incident Public Portal can be used to pass on information, photographs, or video, including dash-cam footage.

Police can also be contacted on the 101 number, online, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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