One arrest over Lurgan bin explosion

A 46-year-old man has been arrested in connection with an explosion in Northern Ireland.

Police officers escaped injury after a device planted inside or close to a bin was detonated in Lurgan, Co Armagh yesterday afternoon.

The suspect was arrested in Lurgan last night and was being questioned by detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) serious crime branch.

A PSNI spokesman said the man was assisting police enquiries at Antrim police station.

The crude device went off without warning at Levin Road at about 3pm yesterday. There were no reports of any injuries and only minor damage was caused.

Police had been in the area at the time investigating reports that an illegal republican parade was due to take place.

Dissident republicans who have been behind a number of shootings and bombings in recent weeks have been blamed for the attack.

Sinn Fein MLA for the area John O’Dowd said the attack was an attempt to kill police.

“These so-called dissidents need to come out and explain exactly why they are doing this. The planting of this device along a busy road on one of the busiest days of the year was not only callous it was stupid,” Mr O’Dowd said.

Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness led the condemnation and branded those responsible anti-peace process fantasists.

This morning, police said they believed dissident republicans placed the device inside a dog litter bin.

“Those involved in this attack have no place in modern day Northern Ireland. They showed a blatant disregard for the local community, as anyone could have approached this bin as it exploded,” said PSNI Chief Inspector Anthony McNally.

Two armoured police Land Rovers were parked close to the scene of the explosion.

Shrapnel and debris was scattered over a large distance.

Mr McNally said officers would not be deterred from doing their duty.

“We want to reassure the community that we will not be deterred by this attack by individuals intent on dragging us back to the past. Local police will continue to deliver the personal, professional and protective service that the vast majority of residents in the north Lurgan area want to see,” he added.

During a follow-up police operation in the Kilwilkie area of Lurgan in the early hours of this morning, police were attacked with petrol bombs.

No-one was hurt.

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