Continuity IRA says it carried out west Belfast grenade attack
The Continuity IRA has claimed responsibility for a grenade attack on police in west Belfast earlier this week.
No-one was injured after a “military” grenade was launched at a PSNI Land Rover at Milltown Row at around 2am on Wednesday.
Police later said that a loud bang was heard shortly after the vehicle was struck by an object during the early morning attack.
In a statement to the Irish News which came with a recognised codeword, the Continuity IRA last night said the attack was carried out by “volunteers of the Irish Republican Army acting under orders of the Continuity Army Council”.
“One of our units in Belfast carried out the attack using a military hand grenade,” it added.
SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly condemned the attack.
“That was a pretty nasty attack and it could have had more serious consequences,” she said.
“We are lucky no-one was killed.
"People are angry and depressed about the continuation of violence by people who have noting to offer and nothing to gain.”
Police later said the “remnants of a suspected grenade have been recovered and taken away for forensic testing”.
During a follow up operation part of the Bog Meadows nature reserve was closed while searches took place.
Wednesday's grenade attack comes amid an upsurge in activity by the Continuity IRA across the north in recent months.
It was behind an attempt to kill police officers in Wattle Bridge, Co Fermanagh, in August.
It is understood that on that occasion a hoax device including a command wire had been set up on hay bales in a bid to draw police into the area.
The previous month a dummy mortar tube was used during an attempted attack in Craigavon in July.
The tube was set up to look like a horizontal mortar and “propellant” was was used to create the sound of an explosion, again intended to draw police into the area.
A bomb had been placed inside a concrete slab on which the tube was resting and would have detonated once moved.
However, it was detected before it exploded.
This week's attack comes almost a year after a failed attempt to kill police officers on the outskirts of west Belfast.
The Continuity IRA has previously said that a horizontal-style device was designed to fire a single .50 calibre round at a passing police patrol.
The weapon was discovered in the Upper Dunmurry Lane area on December 11 following a four-day security operation.
The improvised device had been set up on a small trestle and had been engaged but failed to go off.