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Army detonates suspicious device found in Newry as homes evacuated

15 families living in the area were evacuated from their homes.

Image: Shutterstock/Stephen Barnes

NORTHERN IRELAND POLICE and the army have carried out a controlled explosion of a device found in Newry yesterday afternoon.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) received a report of a suspicious object around 3.30pm yesterday at Ashgrove Road.

Police and ammunition technical officers (ATOs) attended the scene and ATOs carried out a controlled explosion.

The forces believe the object was a viable device, which is one that has the capacity to cause serious injury or death. 

15 families living in the area were evacuated, some to a local leisure centre.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Commander Superintendent Norman Haslett said that “most of the families have returned home and any roads closed have reopened”.

“Our enquiries are continuing and we are working to establish who is responsible for what can only be described as a reckless act,” Haslett said.

“This device could easily have detonated, or have been picked up by anyone, including children. Someone could have suffered serious injury,” he said.

 ”As we continue with our investigation, I want to thank everyone inconvenienced by the alert. In particular, I want to thank the 15 families who had to leave their homes as we worked to make the scene safe.” 

In a statement, Sinn Féin MLA for Newry and Armagh Liz Kimmins said that the object was an “attack on the entire community”.

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“Families had to be evacuated from their homes in what must have been a frightening and traumatic experience,” Kimmins said.

“This is an attack on the entire community at a time when we should all be working together in the face of the public health crisis caused by Covid-19,” she said.

“Those responsible need to end these futile actions immediately.”

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