Attack on PSNI was 'attempt to kill'
A pipe bomb attack on a police patrol in Belfast last night was a reckless attempt to kill, a senior officer has said.
Dissident republicans have been blamed for throwing the viable device as the armoured Landrover made its way along Oldpark Road in the north of the city.
Supt George Clarke said: “This is absolutely and clearly an attempt to murder police officers.
“It not only shows a willingness and determination to kill people who are serving the community but it also shows complete disregard for the people living in that area.
“We are extremely fortunate. These devices are designed, intended and capable of killing.”
Up to 20 families were forced from their homes during the late night alert. The PSNI said officers received a telephone call at about 10.15pm claiming that a bomb had been thrown at officers but had not detonated.
The device, which was later defused by army bomb experts, was discovered during a follow up search operation at Rosapenna Street. It was removed for forensic examination.
Less than 24 hours earlier, the dissident splinter group Óglaigh na hÉireann said it had left a pipe bomb close to a community centre at Greater Whitewell Road, also in north Belfast.
Supt Clarke added: “Clearly we are worried about this but we are resolute in our determination to deliver policing. We know we have the community support.”
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has condemned those responsible. “Only by good fortune this device did not explode. Once again the entire community is indebted to the bravery and expertise of our security forces in making this device safe," he said.
“Terrorist attacks against the police are wrong now, just as they were wrong in the past. These are the actions of people seeking to undermine law and order and to destabilise society through acts of violence. Their actions will only reinforce the determination across society not to give in to such terrorism.”
Sinn Féin councillor Danny Lavery said the community had been outraged. "These attacks serve no purpose and those responsible need to come forward and explain to this community what the point of this attack was," he said. "Exactly who in this community supports these actions, certainly not the dozens of elderly residents and young children put out of their homes last night?”