Northern Ireland police vehicle damaged in suspected bomb attack

Northern Ireland police vehicle damaged in suspected bomb attack

Police in Northern Ireland said two officers escaped unharmed when their vehicle was damaged by a homemade bomb.

The blast in Strabane late on Thursday night “appears to have been a targeted attack," according to a police statement.

“The attack, which is believed to have been caused by an improvised explosive device, caused damage to a police vehicle and is being treated as the attempted murder of two officers,” the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) added.

Strabane is located in County Tyrone, near the border with the Republic of Ireland, and around 130 kilometres west of Belfast.

Politicians on both sides of the border have condemned the attack.

"Any attempt to attack or kill police officers is reprehensible," said Michelle O'Neill, First Minister Designate of Northern Ireland.

"Those involved in this attack will not succeed in dragging society backwards. We must all unite against these reckless actions. We must keep building [the] peace and moving forward."

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said any “attempt to injure members of the security forces or the PSNI would be absolutely shocking and stands to be condemned.”

A 1998 peace agreement largely ended three decades of violence in Northern Ireland involving the Irish Republican Army (IRA), British loyalist paramilitary groups, and UK security forces.

Dissidents of the now-dormant IRA continue to mount occasional attacks on security forces.

The Police Federation of Northern Ireland (PFNI) said the bomb attack on Thursday had a "terrorist aim" to cause "pain and misery" and return Northern Ireland "to the dark years" of the past.