Police told to be vigilant after failed bomb attacks in Northern Ireland
The Police Federation has urged PSNI members to be vigilant following a bomb attack in which a patrol narrowly escaped serious injury.
Chairman Terry Spence (below) vowed dissident republicans, who have been blamed for the attack, would not succeed in plunging the province back into full-scale conflict.
The explosive device was detonated near a vehicle patrol at the City Cemetery off the Falls Road in west Belfast on Friday using a command wire.
Dissidents have redoubled efforts to kill, and officers were urged to tighten personal security after a separate under-car bomb was also found a short distance away earlier on Friday.
Members of a Filipino family were treated for shock after their car was damaged during the attack. The blast also blew a chunk of masonry out of the wall of the cemetery.
Mr Spence said: "It was a reckless, cowardly and futile action by individuals who have nothing to offer.
"The officers were fortunate to escape unhurt in what was a clear attempt to murder and maim. Those responsible have absolutely no regard or respect for life.
"My members will continue undeterred to offer a professional service to the community. These terrorists will not succeed in their goal and I would appeal to anyone with information to get in touch with the PSNI so that these mindless people are brought to justice.
"Police officers and the public must remain vigilant as it is the obvious intention of desperate dissident republicans to attract a headline in the run-up to St Patrick's Day."
The Falls Road area was busy and 200 yards away more than 500 people were enjoying a night organised by the Feile (festival) community organisation.
Dissident republicans have been blamed for planting both bombs last week in what appears to have been a deliberate attempt to embarrass Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who are in Washington to meet senior members of the Obama administration as part of St Patrick's Day celebrations.
The earlier under-car bomb fell from the vehicle and failed to explode.
Even though the target has not been positively identified, the PSNI has not ruled out the possibility it was meant for one of its officers.
The device was discovered at Blacks Road, a busy route close to the M1 not far from Woodbourne police station.
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Under-car bombs have been used several times in recent years – once to kill Constable Ronan Kerr near Omagh, in April 2011, and to seriously injure two officers in separate attacks near Castlederg, Co Tyrone, in May 2008 and Randalstown, Co Antrim, in January 2010. There were also attempts to kill officers in Belfast and a soldier in Bangor. Dissidents murdered PSNI officer Stephen Carroll in March 2009 and prison officer David Black in November 2012.