A breakaway IRA group has claimed responsibility for a grenade-style bomb thrown at the PSNI in north Belfast this week.
The device contained over 3lb of explosive and employed a detonation method not seen before. It was thrown at a PSNI patrol in the early hours of Tuesday morning, but failed to explode.
A British army bomb squad spent several hours defusing the two-foot long bomb while the PSNI looked for secondary devices.
Using a recognised codeword, the Oglaigh na hEireann group said they were responsible for the attack. They said the bomb contained 3lb of explosive with one pound of shrapnel and had a Semtex charged detonator. They added that the device was triggered by “key detonation”.
British Army technical officers told journalists the bomb was advanced and showed sophistication in terms of how it was constructed.
“This had a degree of sophistication and a size which takes it beyond a normal pipe bomb. This device is a worrying development for us”, a senior officer said.
British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers condemned the attack and said those responsible had “no popular support”.
Oglaigh na hEireann also claimed responsibility for a gun attack on an alleged informer. Noel Donnelly, reently convicted of a sex crime, was shot at close range with a shotgun at the west Belfast home of a relative on Monday, 6th October.
A former member of the Official Republican Movement, a group with links to the remnants of the Official IRA, he was expelled from the organisation in 2010 over accusations that he was an informer.
He was subsequently charged with sex offences and was forced to flee west Belfast. He had been living in Newcastle, County Down, for the last two years. He was convicted last year of indecently exposing himself to a primary school aged child. Other more serious charges were not proceeded with.
Using a recognised codeword ONH said they were responsible for the shooting adding that “should he survive he will not be allowed to reside anywhere in Ireland”.
They said Donnelly had formed a criminal gang in Newcastle and had also been using the name of the organisation for financial gain. They added that Donnelly’s family are not under any threat.
It is not the first time the west Belfast man has been targeted. In 2008 he narrowly survived an attempt on his life when a bullet past his shoulder. At the time he blamed the murder bid on a drug dealer who he had clashed with.
Sinn Fein councillor Jim McVeigh said: “Those behind this attack do not represent anyone. They should immediately end their violence and threats against the people of west Belfast.”