Belfast Telegraph

Gun attack on police in Belfast 'attempt to murder officers'

A gun attack on police in Belfast has been described as a 'blatant attempt to murder officers'.

Police are investigating reports that two shots were fired at one of their patrol vehicles in Belfast.

The incident happened in the Brompton Park area in the north of the city at around 10.30pm last night.

The PSNI said there had been no reports of any injuries or damage.

A spokesman for the Police Federation condemned the shooting, which it said was an attempt to murder officers engaged in public order duty.

The location of the reported shooting has been the scene of tension in recent weeks with repeated protests by Orangemen banned from marching past the republican Ardoyne neighbourhood.

Loyalist riots broke out in the area in mid-July while a pipe bomb device was also thrown at police officers from the Ardoyne.

DUP MLA for North Belfast William Humphrey said a protest was ongoing when last night's suspected gun attack took place.

"This is the second attack with murderous intent on the peaceful protest at Twaddell," he said.

"It was only good fortune no women protesters or police were harmed. This shooting is part of a wider pattern of incidents that have the clear intent of increasing community tensions."

Labour's shadow Northern Ireland minister Steve Pound also voiced condemnation.

"In the first instance, this deliberate attempt to murder police officers must be condemned for the reckless, unacceptable and appalling attack that it was," he said.

"It was a clear attempt to further raise tensions in north Belfast. There are good people working hard to find a resolution to very difficult issues in the area. The gunmen will not succeed in preventing that work continuing."

But Sinn Fein councillor Gerard McCabe said the police needed to confirm if a firearm was actually discharged.

"There has been no confirmation if indeed two shots were fired at a PSNI Land Rover last night," he said.

"As far as local people are concerned it could have been fireworks.

"Speculation or claims that there was an attack on the PSNI vehicle are not helpful and the sooner this is either confirmed or refuted the better.

"The community in Ardoyne have undergone a stressful time recently with the Orange Order cranking up tensions with their weekly protests."

Meanwhile shots have also been fired at the door of a house in the Tollnamona Court area of west Belfast.

The shooting happened at around 2am.

There were no reports of injuries.

Sinn Fein MLA for West Belfast Rosie McCorley demanded that the perpetrators leave the community alone.

"There is no place for gangs running around with guns in our community and the people of the area do not want them," she said.

"Whatever the reason for this shooting, it was wrong and thankfully no-one was hurt.

"Whoever was behind it needs to leave this community alone to get on with their lives.

"I call on anyone with any information to bring it forward to the PSNI so that those responsible can be held to account and not repeat this totally reckless attack."

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