Policing union tells Northern Ireland public: be our eyes and ears
A police union chief says he is "deeply concerned" by the upsurge in dissident republican terrorism after 18 bombing incidents in recent weeks.
Dissidents are believed to have been involved in the failed firebomb attack on a shop – the latest in a series in Belfast in the run-up to Christmas.
They tried to blow up an underground car park at Victoria Square, then abandoned a bomb in a holdall in the Cathedral Quarter last Friday night.
Up to 1,000 people were evacuated from pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Terry Spence, chairman of the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said: "It is deeply worrying and it is a very serious upsurge in dissident republican terrorism."
Mr Spence said police needed the public to come forward with information.
"We are deeply concerned on the basis that we have had 18 bombing incidents in seven weeks and that in itself is a very telling story," he added.
"Most of those attacks have been against police officers on duty, and indeed one case of an under-car device involving an officer who was retired.
"We are hoping that the community will come forward."
More than 100 motorists each day are being stopped at police checkpoints in Belfast as officers strive to thwart the dissident.
The checkpoints, commonplace throughout Northern Ireland during the Troubles, were reintroduced in recent weeks.
There are fears dissident factions are embroiled in a deadly competition to kill officers.