'Grenade' thrown at police in west Belfast
A suspected grenade was thrown at a police car during an overnight attack in west Belfast.
Officers were carrying out routine patrols in the Falls Road area shortly after 2am, on Wednesday, December 4, when a police Land Rover was struck by an object as it travelled along Milltown Row.
A loud bang was heard before the Land Rover made its way to safety. No officers were injured in the attack.
The remnants of a suspected grenade were later recovered and taken away for forensic testing.
Sinn Fein Westminster candidate Paul Maskey condemned the attack.
"Thankfully no one has been injured in this reckless attack. The vast majority of people in West Belfast and beyond want these futile attacks to end immediately," he said.
“Those responsible have nothing to offer but hurt and injury. People should do all they can to assist the PSNI in their investigation.”
DUP Westminster candidate Frank McCoubrey said police officers should not have to carry out their duties under threat of attack.
"Those responsible clearly have no respect or care for the people who live here. Their intention was to kill or harm and it is totally despicable that anyone would carry out this mindless attack," he added.
Police said a security operation is ongoing and searches are being carried out to ensure there are no other devices in the area.
Mark Lindsay, chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, said officers were lucky to escape injury.
“Instead of reporting a failed terrorist attack this morning, we could easily have been commenting on fatalities or serious injuries. I am relieved that our officers weren’t hurt in this cowardly and callous attempt to kill them," he said.
“As a community, we have to rid ourselves of this terrorist menace. It is holding back all of us who want to build a better future for our children.
“These dissident republicans are heartless and ruthless. We have a threat level that is officially rated ‘severe’ and there’s little prospect of that changing in the foreseeable future."
PSNI chief superintendent Jonathan Roberts said: “This was a undoubtedly an attempt to kill or injure police officers who were out on duty in the early hours of the morning working to keep the public safe. This despicable act must be condemned by all.
“A full and thorough investigation is underway and I would appeal to anyone who noticed any recent suspicious activity in the area or who has any information which could assist us with our enquiries to contact detectives at Musgrave on 101 quoting reference number 79 04/12/19."
Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Belfast Telegraph Digital