Belfast Telegraph

Police remove Belfast bookie's sign in hunt for bombers

By Deborah McAleese

Police last night returned to the scene of a significant dissident republican device discovered in north Belfast in a bid to track down the "small-minded" bombers.

Officers were seen removing a sign from a shop at Brompton Park in the Ardoyne, close to where the explosive device was found on Friday.

Forensic experts were also in the area during the police searches.

It is believed the searches are connected to the investigation into the failed bomb attack on a police patrol.

Police commanders have said that the large bomb could have inflicted carnage, and that it was aimed at murdering PSNI officers.

The bomb was discovered on Friday evening at Brompton Park, close to Holy Cross Church, after a phone warning to local priest Father Gary Donegan.

Fr Donegan said: "A man phoned me to say a device had been left for the police near a local bookmakers."

PSNI Chief Superintendent Nigel Grimshaw said the bomb was designed to kill officers, but could have murdered anyone passing by.

"It was clearly placed in a position that was designed to attack police who may have been in the vicinity," he said.

"Without question, even at this stage, I am absolutely convinced it would have killed or seriously injured police had it detonated."

Despite the attempted attack on police, neighbourhood officers were back on foot patrol in the area on Saturday afternoon.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton described those behind the bomb as "small-minded people creating risk for communities".

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said the bomb had been left in a busy built-up area much used by local people for shopping.

"Those behind this incident have nothing to offer the people of this community other than trying to plunge us back to the past," he said.

SDLP Assembly Member for the area Alban Maginness said that "planting a viable explosive device in such a densely populated and residential area can only achieve one result - the murder of innocents".

"There is nothing patriotic about putting your neighbours or the police in harm's way," he added.

The area has been the scene of repeated attempts by dissident republicans to kill police officers.

Earlier this year the Oglaigh na hEireann group fired a home-made rocket at an armoured police patrol.

The rocket missed its target and exploded in the road without injuring anyone.

Belfast Telegraph


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