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'New IRA' claim responsibility for shooting police officer in Belfast

Terror group claim they had been planning for months to kill two officers

By Claire Williamson

A dissident republican group known as the "new IRA" has claimed responsibility for the shooting of a PSNI officer in north Belfast.

The shooting happened at Edenderry filling station on the Crumlin Road at around 7.30pm on Sunday.

The community officer was hit three times in the right arm after up to 10 shots were fired.

His body armour may have saved him from further harm.

He was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where he is in a stable condition.

The gunshot wounds caused significant damage to his arm.

In a statement to the Irish News the IRA said the attack was "targeted" to kill two officers and that it had been planned for "several months".

It said that using a recognised codeword, the group said the attack was not related to the political crisis at Stormont - instead it was a "continuation of activity".

Three men, aged 30, 36 and 39 arrested in connection with the shooting have been released unconditionally.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said the petrol station was sprayed with automatic gunfire during the attack, putting "other members of the community at massive risk".

"The people who did this did not care who they murdered, albeit it was clear the attack was aimed at the police officers on duty."

Mr Hamilton spoke to the media after visiting the wounded officer in hospital. He said he believed a high velocity rifle was used in the attack. No weapon has been recovered.

He said it was a "completely reckless" attack and described "multiple strike marks on the forecourt" of the filling station.

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