Dissident republican group the Continuity IRA attempted to lure police to their deaths during a no-warning bombing near the border, a detective said.
A device exploded while Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers were investigating a security alert in the Wattlebridge area, close to Newtownbutler in Co Fermanagh.
Police had received a report from a media outlet that had been made aware of a suspect device.
Nobody was injured in the subsequent blast.
Detective Superintendent Sean Wright said: “On Sunday morning, a full clearance operation began with the support of ATO colleagues and colleagues from An Garda Siochana.
“During this operation, a bomb exploded in the area of the Cavan Road at its junction with the Wattlebridge Road.
“This was not a controlled explosion carried out by security services, it detonated without warning.
“This demonstrates how volatile these devices are and I am thankful that there were no injuries.”
He added: “Our investigation has indicated that this was a deliberate attempt by the Continuity IRA to murder police officers and army personnel.
“Thankfully these terrorists did not succeed in their murderous attempt and police officers and army personnel bravely continued the clearance operation, working to protect the community of Wattlebridge.”
- Press Association