ONH claim bomb intended to kill police officers

Army bomb disposal officers at the scene of the alert at the Brians Well Road area of Poleglass. Picture by Ann McManus.

DISSIDENT republicans have claimed responsibility for a bomb left at the Brians Well Road area of Poleglass in west Belfast at the weekend.

Police spent two days defusing the explosive device after a tip-off on Saturday that a suspicious object had been left in the area.

The bomb, which was made safe at the scene and taken away for further forensic examination, is understood to have been a new type not previously used in Northern Ireland.

It is thought this unusual make up of the bomb may have contributed to the delayed in defusing the bomb.

Chief Superintendent Chris Noble said at the time the bomb was "designed to kill or seriously injure officers serving the local community in west Belfast".

"Those who left this device have shown callous disregard for the safety of the local community and the police officers serving this community.

"We are extremely fortunate that no one was killed or seriously injured.

"The overwhelming number of people in the community do not want this type of activity and we as a police service will continue to work to bring those responsible before the courts," he added.

He also appealed for anyone with information on those who may be responsible to come forward.

Using a recognised codeword Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH) claimed they were responsible and confirmed that police were the target of the device saying it had been intended for a "mobile patrol".

It's believed the group may have been monitoring the movements of police in the area for some time prior to the attempted bombing, which was condemned by local political representatives.

Sinn Féin MLA Orlaith­í Flynn said those responsible had "no support" for their actions.

SDLP councillor Brian Heading said the alert used up police resources "which could be used to combat drugs offences and anti-social behaviour."

While ONH have been behind a number of paramilitary style shootings in the last 12 months the last explosive device claimed by the group was in Dungiven, Co Derry in November 2015.

At that time the organisation said the roadside bomb was intended for members of the British army who had been carrying out training exercises in the area.

In October 2014 the same group was responsible for the attempted murder of police officers in Ardoyne in north Belfast, after a device containing 3lb of explosives was thrown at a passing patrol.



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