London, Dec 4 (AFP/APP): Northern Irish police said one of their patrol vehicles was hit in a grenade attack in Belfast on Wednesday, in an attempt to kill or injure officers.
The vehicle was struck overnight, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said, as it drove on a routine patrol through Republican heartland in west Belfast.
The Land Rover was hit, officers heard a loud bang but no officers were injured and the vehicle was undamaged, Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts said.
“The remnants of a suspected grenade have been recovered and taken away for forensic testing,” he said.
“Further searches are being conducted this morning to ensure there are no other devices present which could endanger members of the public.
“This was undoubtedly an attempt to kill or injure police officers.”
The incident comes just over a week before Britain’s December 12 general election, called on the issue of Brexit, which is particularly sensitive in Northern Ireland.
Maintaining the free flow of goods and people across the currently invisible border between the province and the Republic of Ireland was one of the main points of contention in the divorce negotiations between London and Brussels.
The 1998 Good Friday peace accords largely ended three decades of violence in Northern Ireland.
The Police Federation for Northern Ireland, which represents rank and file officers, said the attack showed the “murderous intent of dissident Republicans with nothing but misery to offer”.
“As a community, we have to rid ourselves of this terrorist menace. It is holding back all of us,” said PFNI chair Mark Lindsay.
“I am relieved that our officers weren’t hurt in this cowardly and callous attempt to kill them.”