Revealed: Dissident bomb plot to kill police
Dissident terrorists planned to "wipe out" police officers in a deadly mortar bomb attack in Belfast within the past fortnight.
Details of the plot have been revealed by an informed source who said the device contained Semtex explosives, was fitted with a detonator and attached to a 50-metre long command wire that would allow the bomb to be triggered from a distance.
It had been positioned somewhere in the north of the city with the specific intention of targeting a police saloon car and its occupants.
Without revealing precise details, the source said the attack was planned at a spot where it is known police vehicles have to slow down - making the car an easier target for the horizontally fired mortar.
The plan was not only to kill the officers inside, but to prompt a security review, forcing PSNI commanders to order officers back into armoured Land Rovers.
This was to be an attack on new and normal policing, an ambush, that if successful, would have forced police to rethink their patrolling patterns and methods.
It was an attack designed to push the police further away from the community.
A dissident leadership source revealed that the faction behind the planned ambush was Oglaigh na hEireann.
It was abandoned when no police car passed the area where the mortar bomb had been set up.
Recently the different dissident groups have appeared quiet on the surface, but the information revealed in this briefing shows that in the background deadly ambushes are still being planned.
Oglaigh na hEireann has been behind a series of headline attacks all aimed at the security forces. These have included under-car booby-traps targeting police officers and an Army major; the car bomb at Palace Barracks in Holywood, the military base that houses the MI5 headquarters in Northern Ireland, and a number of planned ambushes aimed at killing police officers.
These latter incidents have been planned in north, west and south Belfast - so-called 'come on' plots creating circumstances and situations that the dissidents know will lead to a police response.
Last month police officers were withdrawn from a number of republican areas because of fears there was a high risk of an attack by one of the dissident groups.
In recent anti-dissident raids police found a mortar bomb in north Belfast.