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Short Strand attack: Hand grenade thrown at police patrol in Belfast

Published 17/10/2015

An ATO forensic officer examines the object described by police as a 'military-style hand grenade'. Photo: Kevin Scott / Presseye
An ATO forensic officer examines the object described by police as a 'military-style hand grenade'. Photo: Kevin Scott / Presseye
PSNI Temp Superintendent Bobby Singleton of Belfast City Policing District speaks at a press conference at Musgrave St police station after a military-style hand grenade was thrown at a police patrol in east Belfast.

A 'military-style hand grenade' has been thrown at a police patrol in east Belfast.

The grenade, which did not detonate, was hurled at officers in the republican Short Strand area on Friday night.

An officer armed with a G36 rifle takes aim as units arrive at the scene of the attack in the Short Strand area. Photo: Kevin Scott
An officer armed with a G36 rifle takes aim as units arrive at the scene of the attack in the Short Strand area. Photo: Kevin Scott

Police officers were responding to reports from local residents of anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of the Short Strand when the device was thrown at around 10.15pm in the vicinity of Pottingers Quay.

The device failed to explode, none of the police officers were injured and no damage was caused. Short Strand was closed to traffic and a number of residents evacuated from their homes while the device was made safe by ATO.

Short Strand remains closed to traffic.

The finger of suspicion will again fall on dissident republicans opposed to the peace process.

A number of residents were evacuated from their homes amid the security alert that followed the attack.

Superintendent Bobby Singleton of Belfast City Policing District said: "Those who carried out this attack showed a total disregard for the safety of the local community and worryingly for the second time in as many days young people who were in the vicinity at the time of the attack.

"It is only by sheer good fortune that we do not have a fatality on our hands as this attack occurred in a built up residential area. Police officers join to serve our communities and work tirelessly to keep them safe. In contrast to the irresponsible actions of those behind the attack the officers targeted insisted on remaining at the scene to assist in keeping local residents and their colleagues safe.

"This is the second attempt by terrorists to kill people in Belfast in 48 hours. Thankfully, on both occasions, they failed but I would appeal to people to remain vigilant and appeal to everyone in the community to continue to work with police by providing information to us so we can keep everyone safe.

Scene of the attack in the Short Strand area. Photo: Kevin Scott
Scene of the attack in the Short Strand area. Photo: Kevin Scott

"Anyone who has any information about this incident should contact Detectives at Ladas Drive on the non-emergency number 101. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111."

The incident on Friday came the day after a suspected undercar booby trap bomb was found on a street in north Belfast.

The viable explosive device was apparently kicked by a young boy while it lay on the ground in Linden Gardens, off the Cliftonville Road.

Scene of the attack in the Short Strand area. Photo: Kevin Scott
Scene of the attack in the Short Strand area. Photo: Kevin Scott

Detectives are investigating whether the bomb had fallen off a car belonging to someone with a connection to the armed forces. Dissidents were again blamed for that incident.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable George Hamilton branded the incident an "act of madness".

He tweeted: "Device thrown at local police in Short Strand last night was an act of madness that could have killed or injured police or local residents."

Scene of the attack in the Short Strand area. Photo: Kevin Scott
Scene of the attack in the Short Strand area. Photo: Kevin Scott

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