Northern Ireland news

New IRA car bombers 'tracked senior PSNI officer from football match he was refereeing'

Shandon Golf Club after the bomb was discovered. Picture by Ann McManus

THE senior police officer targeted with a booby-trap bomb by dissident republicans was reportedly identified after refereeing a junior football match.

The foiled attack at Shandon Park Golf Club in east Belfast last week followed the PSNI officer's attendance at a match in a republican area, the Sunday Life reported.

The paper claims he was followed home from "at least one match" before the attempt on his life.

The 55-year-old officer is believed to have driven his Cherokee car to the nearby golf course at around 7.30am on Saturday with a booby trap bomb placed underneath.

The device is understood to have been spotted by a member of the public sometime before 1pm with the course and golf club evacuated while police examined the bomb declaring it viable.

While detectives removed CCTV from the course it is thought that the bomb was placed under the car outside the officer's home and that he made the journey to the course unaware of the danger he was in.

The bomb is believed to have been placed under his car some time between 10pm on Friday night and 1.30am on Saturday.

The attempted murder was later claimed by the New IRA.

In its statement, the paramilitary organisation suggested the bomb contained a mercury tilt switch which normally is activated by the motion of a car, suggesting because the officer's car travelled over a relatively smooth road surface, there was not sufficient jolting or bumping of the vehicle to trigger the device.

However, it has emerged that the car drove over six speed ramps en route to the golf club.

Two getaway cars used by the dissident republicans responsible were set alight in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A cross-border investigation was launched after it was established that one of the cars, a green Skoda Octavia registration - 01 D 78089 - was sourced in Dublin.

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