Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

PSNI officer's miracle escape after dissident bomb falls from car in west Belfast

A bomb disposal expert at the scene of the  alert in west Belfast
A bomb disposal expert at the scene of the alert in west Belfast

A PSNI officer is believed to have been the intended target of a booby-trap bomb that sparked a major security alert in west Belfast.

The explosive device was discovered by a passing police patrol at Blacks Road near the junction with Arlington Drive just before 8am yesterday.

And last night a police patrol escaped serious injury after an explosive device was thrown at it near the Falls Road.

The incident happened around 10.30pm.

In the earlier incident, the device was found not far from Woodbourne PSNI station, sparking fears an officer could have been the target.

Police would not comment about the potential target and said all lines of inquiry were being explored.

Terry Spence, who chairs the Police Federation, said there was a serious and ongoing threat from dissidents.

"There is a very severe threat to police officers and their families both on and off duty," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"It is very clear that the blood lust of these people and the hatred shows no bounds, and they will stop at nothing.

"We are determined they will not succeed, but the reality is they are ruthless. That device fell off the underside of a car.

"If a child or an adult had picked it up this morning they could have been killed.

"That is the ruthlessness dissidents continue to show."

Blacks Road was closed and residents had to leave their homes as the Army examined the device.

It was later removed for forensic examination.

SDLP councillor Brian Heading said those responsible needed to explain their actions.

"Once again a community in this city has been held to ransom by those intent on creating chaos and misery," he said.

"There can be no justification for this kind of incident. Week after week we go through the same callous, reckless pantomime.

"Those behind these attacks need to explain their actions to the people of this city.

"We cannot continue like this."

Sinn Fein councillor Matt Garrett said it was fortunate no one was injured.

"Those behind this device need to catch up with the rest of the people of Ireland who have moved on from the past," he said.

"Those that voice support for these groups, whose only allegiance is to violence, need to come forward and explain to the people what they aim to achieve by these actions."

A PSNI spokesman appealed for information.

BACKGROUND

Dissident republicans have targeted PSNI officers on numerous occasions. Previous attacks include:

  • November 16, 2013: A pipe-bomb is thrown at a police patrol in the Ballycolman estate in Strabane.
  • November 8, 2013: A former police officer finds a bomb under his car as he prepares to take his 12-year-old daughter to school in Belfast.
  • October 23, 2013: A bomb is discovered in Newtownabbey after reports it had been thrown at a police patrol.

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