Pipe bombs thrown at police patrol in north Belfast

Pipe bombs thrown at police patrol in north Belfast

Police officers in the North have escaped injury after two pipe bombs were thrown at their patrol in north Belfast.

The officers were targeted while responding to an emergency call in the Crumlin Road area during the early hours of this morning.

The devices were thrown as the two officers got out of their patrol car.

A PSNI spokeswoman said they were not physically hurt but had been left badly shaken by the ordeal.

PSNI Chief Inspector Andy Freeburn, area commander in north Belfast, said police were treating the attack as attempted murder.

“This was a blatant attempt to murder our police officers who were out protecting the community. It is just sheer good fortune that they were not killed or seriously injured.

“The people who carried out this attack showed a total disregard for the people within this community,” he said.

The Crumlin Road has been closed and a number of homes have been evacuated.

Some residents have taken shelter at Ballysillan Leisure Centre.

This is the second pipe bomb attack on a police patrol in Belfast in less than a fortnight.

A similar device was found after shots were fired at three police officers in the Foxes Glen area of Twinbrook earlier this month.

This latest attacked happened just after 2am in a loyalist area of the upper Crumlin Road.

Officers were forced to take cover after both devices exploded close to where they were standing.

Police said they were still trying to determine who was responsible.

Chief Inspector Freeburn said: “We have seen this type of attack carried out by dissident republican groupings but at this stage it is very early in the inquiry so it is not something I could speculate on.”

Investigations into whether officers were lured into the area are also ongoing.

“This has only happened within the last couple of hours so that is a line of inquiry – to see whether this was a come-on attack or a legitimate call,” said Chief Inspector Freeburn.

The senior policeman said his officers remained determined to do their duty despite the threat to their life.

“I was struck by the courage and commitment that they had,” he added.


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