Belfast Telegraph

Dissident republican 'IRA' group claims responsibility for mortar attack on police in Belfast

By John Mulgrew

A dissident republican group which refers to itself as the IRA has claimed responsibility for mortar attack on police in west Belfast.

Police officers and a young family escaped injury after a device was launched at a police Land Rover on Friday night.

Now, in a statement, the dissident 'IRA' has said it fired the mortar.

The group also said the bomb struck the PSNI Land Rover.

Police had previously said only a small amount of damage had been caused to the vehicle.

Dissidents had claimed they used newly-imported Semtex during the murder attempt on police officers.

Activated by a command wire, the explosive contained recently acquired military-grade Semtex, according to those responsible.

But security sources have played down the claim.

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey - who arrived at the scene of the attack a short time later - condemned those responsible.

He said the young family were "very lucky to be alive".

"I don't live far away and heard an explosion.

"There was a car with a young family - the car was damaged by a device which went off close to a police Land Rover.

"They have been left very shaken and there was damage to the family's car."

A Filipino family was treated for shock after their vehicle was damaged by debris during the blast.

Shrapnel caused damage to the vehicle bodywork, tyres and smashed the windscreen.

The bomb was launched from the City Cemetery as a police patrol passed at around 10.30pm - the explosion heard across Belfast.

Further reading

Bomb attacks: Dissident republican technology that should have us concerned

Experts play down dissidents' claim of new Semtex supplies

West Belfast police attack: Bomb triggered by command wire 

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