Police investigating the dissident republican murder of a police officer in Northern Ireland last year have made two arrests. A 39-year-old man from Omagh in County Tyrone has been arrested under the Terrorism Act by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) on Tuesday. Earlier a 22-year-old man, also from Omagh, was detained by police in Milton Keynes, England. Constable Ronan Kerr, 25, a Catholic officer, died in a booby-trap car bomb in Omagh on April 2, 2011.
His murder was widely condemned with members of the PSNI and GAA carrying his coffin. The 39-year-old man has been taken to Antrim police station.
The first arrest was made by officers from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit in England at the request of PSNI Serious Crime Branch detectives. The 22-year-old man remains in custody. Meanwhile, on Monday evening, a pipe bomb was thrown at PSNI officers in West Belfast while they responded to reports of a burglary. The device did not explode and no-one was injured in the attack.
Local Sinn Féin councilor Emma Groves condemned the attack. "It has been totally inconvenient for people. I totally condemn this," she said. "The only thing this has achieved is annoyance and upset for the people and residents living in our community. People don't want this anymore, they don't want to have to lift their kids and take their kids out into a freezing cold evening.
"The people in this area certainly don't support this sort of behavior," she added. PSNI chief superintendent George Clarke said: "When the police attended the area, from the shadows it would appear someone threw what we believe now to have been a viable pipe bomb and we are extraordinarily fortunate that what was clearly a determined attack to murder police officers, didn't lead to the death or serious injury of a police officer."