Police officer's partner injured in bomb attack

Republicans suspected over car blast in quiet part of east Belfast

Dissident republicans in Belfast carried out a failed attack on a police officer yesterday, adding a new dimension to dangers posed by splinter groups who refuse to accept that the conflict in Northern Ireland is over.

The officer's partner was hurt when a bomb exploded as she drove off in her car. Her injuries were slight and she was later released from hospital.

The attack took place in a part of east Belfast where dissidents have not previously been active, which means that the authorities will have to carry out a major review of the capabilities of groups such as the Real IRA and Continuity IRA.

The incident took place shortly after 7am as the woman left home in her two-seater sports car. A device exploded almost instantly, damaging the vehicle but inflicting only minor injuries. The device had been placed at the passenger's side of the car, the attackers evidently believing that the officer would be travelling on that side of the vehicle.

Chief Superintendent Brian Maguire said: "The Army has confirmed this was a viable device capable of causing death or serious injury. Had the person possibly been sitting on the passenger side of the car you'd probably be talking about a fatality.

"There are still people out there in today's society who are still intent on causing murder and mayhem."

The woman's life may have been saved by the fact that republicans have for years used a simple method of moulding explosives so that almost all of the blast goes in one direction.

The murder attempt took place in Kingsdale Park, a residential part of east Belfast several miles from the city centre. It is predominantly Protestant and largely middle-class so is not natural territory for republican terrorists.

Police headquarters is not far from the scene of the bombing. One question is how dissidents were able to collect information on police personnel.

The main concern for the authorities is that many police families live in the district and regard it as safe. An assessment will now be made of whether the dissidents could repeat the incident and whether this extension of their campaign means police families should move. Re-settling police in this way is distressing and costly.

Dissident groups have been highly active this year, killing three members of the security forces in the spring and launching attacks on police across Northern Ireland, and the security forces have diverted resources towards combating the threat.

In the past week, one republican group, the Irish National Liberation Army, announced that it was going out of business, but it is clear that at least three other groups remain active and have access to explosives.

The attack yesterday was condemned by politicians and other commentators, including by the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy