An explosive device detonated on a street in Northern Ireland on Monday morning after security forces were initially lured to the area by what turned out to be a hoax bomb threat. Nobody was injured in the blast that went off on a busy road in Newtownbutler County Fermanagh near the border with the Republic in what police described as deliberate attempt to murder its officers.
Anti-terrorist units were in the area responding to reports of a suspicious device which was later declared to be a hoax, but police now believe was intended to draw them into the area so they could be targeted by a viable device.
Police are working on the suspicion that IRA splinter groups like the New IRA or the Continuity IRA to be behind the attack, calling it “a good starting point for the investigation”.
The IRA fought a three-decade long campaign of violence against British rule in Northern Ireland before signing up to the Belfast Peace Agreement on Good Friday 1998.
Political tensions in Northern Ireland have recently increased again, with Brexit scheduled for 31 October and the lack of agreement between the EU and the UK on a future border agreement between EU Member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is due to leave the block with the rest of the UK.
In April, the New IRA shot dead 29-year-old journalist Lyra Mckee at a demonstration in Derry city, leading to widespread condemnation and fears that the political vacuum in Northern Ireland, is leading to a resurgence of paramilitarism.
Mckee’s killing prompted nationalist and unionist politicians to return to the negotiating table with a view to reestablishing the power-sharing agreement that broke down in January 2017 amid a bitter row between the loyalist DUP and nationalist Sinn Fein.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar condemned the bombing on saying that it could have had “devastating effects”.