Catholic police officer possible bomb target

ARMY bomb experts in Northern Ireland were yesterday examining a suspicious object discovered near the home of a Catholic police officer and believed to have fallen from her car.

Houses were evacuated in Fearon Close in Kilkeel, County Down, and the area was sealed off.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokeswoman urged the public to avoid the area.

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South Down SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie said: "Let there be no doubt that we and all the people of Kilkeel stand with this officer and against those who would bring destruction and murder into this peaceful community.

"All will want to see those responsible brought to justice as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, a security alert was also sparked in Londonderry after police received reports of masked men firing shots at around 12.20am.

Ammunition technical officers were called in to examine a van in the Campion Court area of Gobnascale. Nothing was found in the vehicle, however, and the area was later reopened to the public. Around ten nearby homes were evacuated during the alert. Police were also yesterday questioning a 42-year-old man over a car bomb attack on a Londonderry police station last week. Widespread damage was caused on Tuesday after a 200lb device exploded outside the Strand Road station.

Members of the public narrowly escaped injury in the attack, carried out by dissident republicans opposed to the peace process.