Published Thursday, 24 October 2013
Homes were evacuated in the Mill Road area after police received a report of a device being thrown at a passing patrol of the area at 10pm on Wednesday.
Following a search two suspicious objects were found in the area.
Army bomb disposal experts were sent to the scene and later said one device was a hoax and the other was a "viable pipe bomb-type device".
The Mill Road was re-opened to traffic and residents allowed to return to their homes shortly before 5am on Thursday.
Had it exploded it could have killed or maimed anyone close by, police officers or local people alike.
Chief Inspector Stephen Reid
Chief Inspector Stephen Reid, area commander of Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus said: "This device was clearly designed to kill police officers and we are very fortunate no-one was killed or injured.
"Those responsible showed total disregard for the local community and put the lives of local people in the area at risk."
He added: "I would like to thank to local residents for their patience and support throughout this operation and I want to reassure them that we will not be deterred by this attack.
He appealed for anyone with information to contact police.
Alliance Councillor Billy Webb said the attack against the PSNI officers was "sickening".
"It is completely unacceptable that officers on a routine patrol found themselves a target. Not only were their lives put in danger, but the lives of the surrounding community were also put at risk by this callous act.
"We must be grateful no lives were lost and I must praise all involved in securing the device and in working with residents to evacuate the area.
"Those behind this incident do not speak for the community."
North Belfast MLA, Nelson McCausland called on the police to identify who they believe is behind the attack.
The DUP representative said: “Those responsible were seeking to kill or maim police officers and were also prepared to endanger the lives of any member of the public.
“By sheer good fortune they did not succeed, but they did cause massive inconvenience and terror for local residents who were evacuated from their homes in the middle of the night due to this security alert.
Those responsible for this attack are dangerous and reckless extremists who must be caught and put behind bars.
“The PSNI must clarify who they believe was to blame.
“Given where this attack occurred, suspicious will fall on dissident republicans.
“They are wedded to violence and offer only bloodshed and misery.
“They must be given no hiding place and I urge anyone who can assist the police investigation into this serious crime to pass on whatever information they have.”
The incident follows on from a similar security alert in Londonderry this week.
A security alert was sparked after a pipe bomb was thrown at a police patrol car in the Charlotte Street area of the city on Tuesday night.
The device failed to explode, but numerous residents in the area were evacuated from their homes and there was widespread disruption in the area throughout the 12-hour long alert.
Police said they believed dissident republicans were behind the attack.
© UTV News