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
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'