Northern Ireland news

New IRA say they tried to kill PSNI officer

Pictured right, a part of a device removed from a car at Shandon Park Golf Club in east Belfast last weekend. One of the two cars involved in the attack was found burnt out in the Ardoyne area of Belfast 
Connla Young

The ‘IRA’ has claimed responsibility for planting a bomb under the car of a PSNI officer last weekend.

The senior officer was lucky to escape with his life after the deadly device was discovered under his vehicle at Shandon Park Golf Club in east Belfast on Saturday afternoon.

The Irish News understands the bomb contained high powered plastic explosives.

The attempted attack was the first carried out by the ‘IRA’ - which is often referred to as the New IRA - since journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead by the group during a riot in Derry in April.

In a statement issued to the Irish News using a recognised code word and signed T. O’Neill, the ‘IRA’ said it planted the undercar bomb.

A part of a device removed from a car at Shandon Park Golf Club in east Belfast last weekend

"The IRA claims responsibility for the recent under car booby trap," the statement said.

It is understood the device, which police have described as "sophisticated," contained a mercury tilt switch, which is motion activated and normally requires a sudden movement to trigger an explosion.

"We are confident the device would have exploded if it was not for the level terrain it had travelled on," the statement added.

"We were unlucky this time but we only have to be lucky once."

Two cars which have been linked to the attempted bomb attack were found on fire in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A cross border probe was launched after it emerged that one of the vehicles was fitted with Dublin number plates.

SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly said that the potentially deadly attack was discussed during both public and private sessions when the board met yesterday.

"It’s deeply concerning," she said.

"There is a broad (feeling) that the police officer was very lucky," she said.

"It was intended to kill, it was not one that was going to injure you."

Ms Kelly said there was little support for such action.

"The message form everyone in the community is loud and clear - these people have no support," he said.

Shandon Park Golf Club is located close to the PSNI’s headquarters at Knock and the intended target was said to be badly shaken by the attempt on his life.

Under car devices have been used to deadly effect by the 'IRA' in the past.

In March 2016 prison officer Adrian Ismay died 11 days after a bomb exploded under his van as he drove through east Belfast.

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