Officers and family escape bomb attack

Officers and family escape bomb attack

Dissident republicans are being blamed after a blast bomb exploded near a police vehicle on the Falls Road in west Belfast.

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."With a young family whose car has been damaged in an reckless bomb attack on falls rd. Car hit, young kids on board. Dissidents be ashamed.— Paul Maskey (@PaulMaskeyMP) March 14, 2014A 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.

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