Newtownabbey pipe-bomb attack is second bid to kill police in two days
Dissident republicans "wedded to violence" have been blamed for the attempted murder of police officers in a pipe-bomb attack in Newtownabbey.
A bomb was discovered in the early hours of yesterday amid reports it had been thrown at a police patrol.
The discovery followed a similar incident in Londonderry on Tuesday night when a device was aimed at a police car in the city.
Police received a telephone call after 10pm on Wednesday with the caller claiming a pipe-bomb attack on police had taken place in Newtownabbey.
Two suspicious objects were discovered during a subsequent search in the Mill Road area. The road was closed and nearby residents evacuated from their homes.
One object was declared a hoax by Army explosive experts but the other was found to be a viable bomb.
North Belfast MLA Nelson McCausland blamed dissident republican terrorists.
"Given where this attack occurred, suspicions will fall on dissident republicans," he said.
"They are wedded to violence and offer only bloodshed and misery. They must be given no hiding place and I urge anyone who can assist the police investigation into this serious crime to pass on whatever information they have."
PSNI area commander, Chief Inspector Stephen Reid, said: "This device was clearly designed to kill police officers and we are very fortunate no one was killed.
"Had it exploded it could have killed or maimed anyone close by, police officers or local people alike. Those responsible showed total disregard for the local community and put the lives of local people in the area at risk.
"I would like to thank to local residents for their patience and support throughout this operation."
Mill Road was reopened to traffic and residents allowed to return to their homes shortly before 5am yesterday.
Alliance councillor Billy Webb described the incident as "sickening".
He said the lives of all of those in the area, including the police, had been endangered.
"It is completely unacceptable that officers on a routine patrol found themselves a target," he said.
"Not only were their lives put in danger, but the lives of the surrounding community were also put at risk by this callous act."