Bomb attack officers 'split-second from death'

Police officers in Northern Ireland came within a split-second of death when a bomb was hurled at their patrol car.

Police officers in Northern Ireland came within a split-second of death when a bomb was hurled at their patrol car.

The explosion in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, was thought to have been caused by a coffee jar bomb.

An Army bomb team and police experts spent the day examining the scene of the blast and collecting fragments of the bomb following the attack.

The officers managed to drive their damaged car back to base, they were uninjured but suffered deep shock.

RUC Superintendent Victor Hutchinson says the men are lucky to be alive after the device missed their car by a whisker.

He said: "The device exploded at the rear of the car, but if it had been thrown a fraction of a second earlier and gone underneath the car, the consequences would have been much, much worse.

"There is no doubt that these people intended to murder my officers."

Mr Hutchinson says the bombers not only endangered his men but large crowds of young people arriving at local night spots.

The security forces believe dissident republicans, linked to the Real IRA who bombed Omagh and killed 29 people, were responsible.

Another security alert continued outside Armagh where Army bomb disposal experts were called in to examine two bins with wires attached. The suspect bomb, at the Brootally Crossroads in the Monaghan Road, was spotted on Saturday.

More in this section