THREE men have been arrested in Co Donegal in connection with the discovery of a bomb under a policeman’s car in Derry this morning.
The three suspects were arrested along the border and are believed to known to the security forces as dissident republicans.
The Belfast Daily has learned they have been taken for questioning to both Letterkenny and Milford Garda stations but no other details are available at present.
The suspects are being held under the Offences Against the State Act.
Derry’s police commander says the bomb left under the serving police officer’s car was a “clear attempt to kill”.
The device was discovered at Glenrandel in Eglinton in the early hours of this morning, forcing 15 families to be evacuated.
The alarm was raised after police were alerted to suspicious activity around the officer’s home at about 2.45 am.
The wife of the targeted officer is also a member of the PSNI.
District Commander Mark McEwan said: “The target of focus of the investigation is violent dissident republicans.
“This could have been a tragedy.
“This officer serves the community day and daily. He keeps people safe. Someone has crept in and planted a bomb underneath his car.
“I have spoken with the officers and they are calm and dealing with it in a professional way.”
Supt McEwan added: “This device had the potential to harm not only the officer but anyone in that residential area and those involved have shown a blatant disregard for human life.
“This is yet another example of the cowardly elements in our society who show no regard for the safety of local residents and the police officers who serve their community.
“We are obviously very thankful that this attack was thwarted and that no one was injured here this morning.
“Clearly there are people out there in today’s society who are still intent on causing murder and mayhem.
“Glenrandel remains closed to traffic and residents and approximately 15 houses had to be evacuated during the early hours.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the local residents for their patience and co-operation and assure them that we are taking every sensible step to keep them safe and minimise any further impact on them.
“The investigation is at an early stage and we would appeal for anyone who may have been in this area around 2.45am this morning or in recent days who may have witnessed anything untoward or noticed any persons acting in a suspicious manner.
“We are also appealing for anyone who may have witnessed any vehicles seen leaving the area at speed shortly after 2.45am to contact us.
“Anyone with information should contact detectives at Strand Road on 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
There has been widespread condemnation of the attempt to murder the police officer.
Foyle MP Mark Durkan condemned those behind the attack.
“These people are capable of using a viable device, but they don’t actually have a viable political strategy, no coherent message and it is not what the community want,” he said.
“Let’s be very clear about the support and sympathy and solidarity that we are offering to the police officer concerned.”