Officers and family escape bomb attack

Published Friday, 14 March 2014
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Dissident republicans are being blamed after a blast bomb exploded near a police vehicle on the Falls Road in west Belfast.

Officers and family escape bomb attack
The scene of the attack after a device is fired at police in west Belfast (© Kevin Scott)

The explosive device was thrown at the vehicle close to the entrance of the Belfast City Cemetery shortly before 10.30pm on Friday.

Police said it detonated, causing damage to the PSNI vehicle and the wall of the cemetery.

"It is believed some form of explosive device was thrown at their vehicle," a PSNI spokesman said.

Sinn Féin MP for the area Paul Maskey said the bomb also hit a nearby vehicle, with a family on board.

The Filipino family - including children aged 11, 13 and 16 - were treated for shock.

Mr Maskey described the bomb attack as "reckless", saying they had a lucky escape.

"A passing PSNI vehicle appears to have been the target in this reckless attack when a family were fortunate to escape injury as their car was peppered with shrapnel," he said.

"At this early stage we have been told that no PSNI personnel were injured and their vehicle drove on."

A number of ambulances attended the scene of the blast bomb attack. There were no reports of any serious injuries.

"A section of the Falls Roads has been closed in the follow-up security operation," police said.

Army bomb experts were sent to the scene overnight.

However, Mr Maskey said the PSNI didn't immediately attend the scene after the attack.

"Countless people and vehicles pass the site of the explosion. This is not acceptable," the Sinn Féin representative said.

The attack, which came after a viable under-car booby trap bomb was discovered on the Blacks Road in West Belfast on Friday morning, has been condemned.

Policing Board Chair Anne Connolly said :"This was the second attempt to injure or kill and it is important that anyone who has information passes it to the police."

Earlier the Police Federation for Northern Ireland warned police officers and their families to be vigilant and check their vehicles for any potential devices.

Chairman Terry Spence said: "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. It was a reckless, cowardly and futile action by individuals who have nothing to offer."

SDLP MLA for West Belfast Alex Attwood has also condemned the attempt to kill police officers.

"Those engaged in this type of reckless violence are not advancing a political ideal of any kind, they are hurting the community they claim to represent," he said.

Alliance Justice spokesperson Stewart Dickson said: "The people responsible for this attack want to see a return to the dark days of the Troubles. They want violence to return to our streets."

The East Antrim MLA added: "The people responsible must be urgently apprehended and brought before the courts to face justice for their crimes, so I would urge anybody who has any information about this attack to contact the police."

Ulster Unionist Policing Board member Ross Hussey said he was "disgusted to hear of the cowardly blast bomb".

"I am relieved that officers and passers-by weren't injured. Police officers, men, women and children could have been lying in hospital tonight or worse," the West Tyrone MLA said.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
20 Comments
Norman d in Bangor wrote (276 days ago):
the police got lucky. the dissidents only need to get lucky once
gerard in belfast wrote (276 days ago):
i agree with most off what is said on here but when any 1 rings the police from west belfast it dose take them about 2 hours to come in and they do ring u back to see if u did ring them about some thing that has happen and i do understand that they have to be carefull cause there lives r on the line i have told the police this but u cant get the police on ur side when u know they still wont come in even when they know this is for real and not a setup i was in tescos a few weeks ago and some kids were carrying on outside in the car park they rang the police and 2 car loads were there in about 3 mins so lets be honest here if they came into the area as fast as that and sorted the hoods out the people off west belfast will be on there side and for sf they r just like the dup now they will say anything for the votes just thank god no 1 got killed r hurt in what had happen there on friday any time i have had the police call at my door they have been nice and did not look down there noses at us not like the old ruc who did not care what the people of the west was going through i have this so many times we need a government for all the people off this country off ours not 1 side playing the other side then we will have peace
Mark in Lisburn wrote (277 days ago):
I assume Mr Maskey would rather the Police (the target of the attack) stopped to let these thugs throw another device or maybe shoot at them. In fairness the alleged one hour does seem too long and perhaps reflects the complete lack of resources the Police now have, or of course the risk that this small bomb was designed to draw Police into a bigger one. I wouldnt want their thankless job for love nor money, but admire them for taking it on.
robbo in shankill wrote (277 days ago):
Whike its nice to see sinn fein speaking out towards this , they didn't care about the same thing when it was them and the p.i.r.a doing this did they
Sean Moreland in Antrim road belfast wrote (278 days ago):
What time will the falls road be reopened at ?
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