Published Friday, 03 August 2012
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Hundreds of homes in the Glen Road area were evacuated on Friday morning during a police search for an unexploded device after a report of a mortar attack and shot on a PSNI landrover.
Earlier, police said that those evacuated may not be able to return home for several days. However, this restriction was lifted shortly before 6pm and members of the public were allowed to return to their homes and businesses.
Police confirmed a shot was fired at a PSNI landrover last Friday night. They are now investigating a claim from dissident republican group Óglaigh na hÉireann that a mortar was also fired.
Searches were carried out earlier this week and follow-up investigations took place on Thursday night - but nothing untoward was found.
Area Commander for West Belfast, Chief Inspector Emma Bond said: "We apologise for the inconvenience this policing operation has caused but it was necessary in order to ensure the safety of the local community.
"Based on our investigation and after an extensive series of searches over the past seven days, I am satisfied that nothing untoward has been left in the area and that there is no risk to the public."
She continued: "An allegation was made that a device had been fired at police and it was incumbent on us to take the necessary steps to fully search the area to ascertain if there was anything untoward there and deal with that appropriately.
"We have now completed those searches and can confirm that nothing has been found."
DCI Bond said officers had examined purporting to be of the alleged incident and they are "satisfied" that it is not a recording of the shooting incident in the early hours of last Friday morning.
The senior police officer said that those who carried out this potentially murderous attack have shown "a total disregard for the people of this community who have faced considerable and needless disruption" during the search operation.
"They have nothing to offer this community and will not deter us from giving the policing service the people of West Belfast want and deserve."
Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey said that the dissident group have once again disrupted the nationalist community of west Belfast.
"This is all due to this group claiming they have fired a mortar in a built up residential area which has not been found.
"In doing so and in carrying out this attack they have shown utter disregard for this community, a community they purport to represent.
He added: "Those responsible need to issue a clear statement as to where this device would be, where it was fired from and why they carried out such a reckless attack in a built up, busy residential area.
"Further to this they need to realise there is no community support for their actions. The people of Ireland have very clearly chosen a peaceful political path and they should follow suit."