An early-morning petrol bomb attack has ramped up smouldering tensions in Rathfriland, prompting calls for calm before lives are lost.
The petrol bomb was thrown at the front of a property in Newry Street at about 1.20am on Sunday (July 12).
Almost exactly a week earlier, to the hour, the traditional bonfire at the bottom of John Street was deliberately set alight.
Though police have not formally linked the two incidents, a spokesperson confirmed: “All lines of enquiry are being followed at this stage.” After the more recent incident SDLP Councillor Seamus Doyle called for calm.
“I would ask anyone in a position to do so, to do what they can to reduce tension,” he said, “I would appeal for people to stay calm and if they see any crime being carried out to report it straight away to police.
“When petrol bombs start flying it’s very serious; there’s the potential for people to be burned alive and we don’t want anyone to lose their life.”
Police are asking anyone who may have noticed anything in the area or who has any information regarding the petrol bomb attack to call 101 and quote incident 564 of July 12.
Condemning malicious attacks, Mr Doyle did add in respect of the bonfire that he believed it would be best relocated from what many considered an unsuitable site, he said, to an appropriate location away from residential areas.
Meanwhile, police are investigating a link between the bonfire attack and an incident - reported at about 4.45am on Sunday, July 5 - in which the front window of a house in Downpatrick Street, Rathfriland was smashed.