Car bomb in Northern Ireland

By Sasjkia Otto

Three people including an elderly woman were taken to hospital after a car bomb exploded outside a police station in Northern Ireland last night.

Dissident republicans are thought to be responsible for the attack, but nobody has claimed responsibility.

The bomb went off in Newtownhamilton around 11.25 after Belfast hospital received a warning call the vehicle had been abandoned.

Police officers were on their way to the unoccupied station when the bomb went off. Firefighters were already on the scene and helped take people to safety before the explosion.

Nearby properties were damaged and the nearby town hall was cordoned off. Homes in the area were evacuated and Newtownhamilton High School was opened up for residents.

Danny Kennedy, an Ulster Unionist assembly member criticised the police response. “Had it not been for the excellent and very prompt work of local firemen then we could’ve had a very serious situation,” he told the Daily Mail.

“Clearly [police] response times are not appropriate, they are not in line with responses that should be given, given the overall security situation.”

The attack comes in the wake of warnings by senior police sources that the threat from dissident republicans is at its highest since the Omagh bombings 12 years ago.

A device was defused outside Newtownhamilton police station ten days ago shortly after a real IRA bomb exploded outside the regional headquarters of M15 in Holywood, Co Down.