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PSNI response to bomb attack 'not acceptable' say Sinn Fein

Published 17/03/2014

Staff Reporter




POLICE have been criticised after claims they failed to appear at the scene of a bomb attack in west Belfast for almost two hours.

Sinn Fein said the PSNI response was "not acceptable" after a bomb exploded on the Falls Road on Friday night. The attackers used a command wire to detonate the device as a police land Rover passed close to the entrance to the city cemetery at around 10.30 pm.

No-one was injured in the attack. The explosion was heard over a wide area of Belfast and blew a chunk of masonry from the cemetery wall.

A Filipino father and his three children caught up in the ambush were lucky to escape injury after debris from the explosion struck their car.

Dissident republicans are being blamed for the attack which took place hours after an under car booby trap device was discovered at Blacks Road which is close to Woodbourne PSNI station in west Belfast.

They have used command wires to try to detonate bombs in the past. In 2009 a 600lb landmine was discovered near the border at Forkhill in south Armagh and later defused. In recent years they have shown a degree of technical ability previously shown by the Provisional IRA. In January 2011 a booby trapped child's bicycle was discovered in north Belfast during a security operation during which a second device was discovered.

Both devices were found after a shop window was broken in a bid to lure police into the area. In April the same year a bomb attached to a trip wire failed to explode in south Belfast as police officers responded to call about a woman in distress at Annadale embankment West Belfast Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey described Friday's attack as "reckless."

"A passing PSNI vehicle appears to have been the target in this reckless attack when a family were fortunate to escape injury as their car was peppered with shrapnel," he said.

"Thankfully no one was seriously hurt but the family are extremely

shook up."

Mr Maskey was critical of those who detonated the device.

"Those behind this attack clearly did not care who was injured or killed," he said.

"Just a couple of hundred yards away more than 500 people were

enjoying a night organised by FĂ©ile while those with no vision for the future tried to bring death and destruction to the people of West Belfast."

PSNI Superintendent Barbara Gray said police will now review their response to Friday's attack.

"As with all incidents a review of the police response will be carried out to ensure that we do everything possible to provide the highest quality response to the communities of north and west Belfast," she said.

* ATTACK: Police examine the scene of Friday night's explosion on the Falls Road in west Belfast after a device was thrown at a police patrol passing the City Cemetary. A police vehicle was damaged but no officers were injured. Police response to the attack has been criticised by Sinn Fein