Seven men have appeared in court charged with the attempted murder of a senior police officer in Co Tyrone in February.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell was shot several times by two gunmen in the carpark of a sports complex in Omagh as he put footballs into the boot of his car after a training session involving his son.

The dissident republican group the New IRA has said it was responsible.

The men, aged from 28 to 72, appeared at Dungannon Magistrates' Court by via video link.

They include a father and two sons.

Two of the men, 38-year-old Brian Carron from Claremont Drive in Coalisland, and 45-year-old Gavin Coyle from Killybrack Mews in Omagh, were charged with attempted murder and membership of the IRA.

Lawyers acting for the two men robustly challenged the evidence against them.

A solicitor for Mr Coyle accused the police of "viciously asserting something that will not be sustained".

A lawyer for Mr Carron insisted there was no forensic or CCTV evidence to link his client to the charges.

A PSNI officer said he believed he could connect both men to the charges.

James Ivor McLean, 72, and his 29-year-old son Robert McLean, both from Deverney Park in Omagh, were charged with attempted murder.

Another son, 33-year-old Matthew McLean from Glenview Park in Omagh, and two others, 28-year-old Jonathan McGinty from St Julian's Downs in Omagh, and 47-year-old Alan McFarland from Deverney Park in the town were charged with attempted murder and other offences.

A solicitor for Johnathan McGinty put it to the officer that a member of the British security service MI5 had visited his client in a Belfast police station last night and attempted to speak to him.

The officer said he was not aware of any such approach.

The PSNI Detective Chief Inspector told the court he could connect all of the accused to the charges.

The officer outlined links between a number of vehicles used before, during and after the gun attack.

He told the court that evidence includes forensics, CCTV footage and witness statements.

All of the accused were remanded in custody to appear in court in Omagh by video link on 27 June.