THE Republican paramilitary group known as the ‘IRA’ last night claimed it was “confident” it struck an RUC/PSNI vehicle with an EFP mortar in Strabane last week.
In a statement the organisation, sometimes referred to as the ‘New IRA’, said it fired the potentially lethal device at the passing patrol car at Townsend Street in the Tyrone town last Tuesday night. The group claims the EFP (explosively formed projectile) mortar contained Semtex and was triggered by command wire and fired from a distance of nine feet at the police vehicle as it passed at around 8pm. The ‘IRA’ claims that the mortar was moved from another location in the border town earlier on Tuesday after the security forces failed to show up.
Using a recognised codeword, the republican group claimed that an attempt to target a police car with the same device at Townsend Street was abandoned an hour before the attack because of the prescence of civillian vehicles in the area. The RUC/PSNI has said that the device, which it described as a “roadside bomb with command wire attached” was “designed to kill or seriously injure” its officers. Three officers who were travelling in the vehicle were uninjured but believed to be left shaken. The RUC/PSNI vehicle left the area after the attack and police were later criticised for failing to cordon off the scenne for three hours.
Several people were removed from their homes during a follow up operation but later allowed to return. Politicians have condemned the latest attack which came just weeks after the ‘IRA’ tried to kill a Catholic police officer in Derry using an undercar bomb. Policing Board member and SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan said: “Such attacks on the PSNI (RUC) have no place in a modern progressive society.” DUP MLA Tom Buchánan said: “There must be a united and resolute stand from right across the political spectrum to such activities.”
In August 2015, a motar was discovered and disarmed at a cemetery in Strabane after a security operation. EFPs, which can pierce armour over a long distance, have been used by the ‘IRA’ in Derry and Belfast in the past. On those occasions no-one was injured. Unexploded EFPs have also been recovered by the security forces accross the north. Believed to have been developed in Iran, the homemade weapon was regularly used in Iraq. It is considered by some as the modern version of the horizontal mortar – known to republicans as a ‘doodle bug’ – which was used by the Provisionals. Meanwhile, police have been given additional time to question a 20-year-old man arrested in Newtownstewart in connection with the attack last week, while a 31-year-old man arrested on Saturday continued to be questioned last night.
With many thanks to: The Irish News, for the orgional story.
A serving prison officer was among five people arrested as part of an investigation into trafficking banned items into Maghaberry Prison.
The 50-year-old was arrested at the prison on Tuesday morning.
A quantity of cash and drugs were seized in a joint operation carried out by the PSNI and the Prison Service.
Three properties were searched in Newtownabbey, Belfast and Kinallen, County Down.
The prison officer was questioned in relation to conveyancing prohibited articles into a prison, misconduct in public office, possession of criminal property and being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
A 28-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were arrested in Newtownabbey.
A 55-year-old woman was arrested in Belfast and a 50-year-old woman was arrested in Kinallen.
They were all released on bail pending further enquires late on Tuesday night.
The PSNI’s Head of Reactive and Organised Crime Chief Superintendent Tim Mairs said: “Detectives today seized £10,000 cash, a quantity of suspected Class A and Class B controlled drugs and a number of mobile phones.
“This operation is a good example of how collaborative working can disrupt crime and also demonstrates our commitment to Keeping People Safe by removing harmful drugs from society.”
The head of the Prison Service, Ronnie Armour, said: “I welcome the result of today’s joint operation with the PSNI and would take this opportunity to reiterate the zero tolerance drugs policy which operates within Northern Ireland’s prisons.”
SOLICITORS acting on behalf of (Craigavon Two) two men convicted of the murder of PSNI/RUC police officer Stephen Carroll have written to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) after new details about the case were made public.
Brendan (Yandy) McConville (43) and John Paul (JP) Wootton (23) were convicted of killing the officer in Craigavon in March 2009. Both men have denied any part in the Continuity IRA (CIRA) attack that claimed the PSNI/RUC man’s life as he answered a 999 emergency call. It emerged this week, in a European Court judgement, that the gun used to kill Constable Carroll, pictured below, was discovered by police after a tip-off by a suspect, who was in custody at the time.
The suspect is referred to in court papers only as RE. The suspect was initially charged with withholding information about Mr Carroll’s murder but these charges were subsequently dropped in mid 2010. Brendan McConville’s solicitor Darragh Mackin, of KRW Law, has written to the PPS requesting notes taken during police interviews with RE and asking what happened to the charges levelled against him.
Details of the case emerged after RE took a case against the British government over concerns that the PSNI/RUC was carrying out surveillence of conversations between him and his solicitor.
The man was arrested and questioned three times in the weeks after the officer was killed. Court papers reveal that he was assesssed by a medical officer as a “vulnerable person” and therefore should not have been interviewed – unless in exceptional circumstances – in the absence of an appropriate adult. Court papers reveal that before being seen by a solicitor or appropriate adult the man asked to speak to investigating officers “off the record”. During the course of that interview he “gave information which led to the recovery of the gun used in the constable’s murder.”
His solicitors subsequently brought a separate case on his behalf to the European Court which this week found that secret surveillance carried out on solicitors and their clients is in breach of European Law. During the first two periods of detention his solicitor received assurances that consultations would not be subject to covert surveillance. During a third arrest the PSNI/RUC refused to give an assurance.
The court ruling found that the man’s Article Eight rights under the European Court of Human Rights had been violated.
Article Eight protects the right for private and family life, home and correspondence.
Nichola Harte, of Harte, Coyle, Collins Solicitors, who represented RE, said the ruling has wider implications. “The European Court criticised the inadequate procedures currently in place in the North of Ireland for the handling, use, storage and destruction of information obtained from covert surveillance of legal consultations,” she said. “The police arrangements were and continue to be a violation of the right to respect for private life. “This landmark European ruling has implications for all legal consultations in police stations if subjected to covert surveillance.” With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News. For the origional story.