The New IRA has claimed responsibility for an attack against a member of the PSNI last weekend in which a device was planted on the underside of a vehicle.
It is understood the device, which police have described as “sophisticated”, contained a quantity of high-powered plastic explosives. It also contained a motion-activated mercury tilt switch.
The device was discovered at Shandon Park Golf Club, close to the PSNI’s headquarters at Knock in east Belfast. Two cars alleged to be linked to the attack were found burned out in Ardoyne in north Belfast the following morning.
In a statement issued in the name of the group, they said: “We are confident the device would have exploded if it was not for the level terrain it had travelled on. We were unlucky this time but we only have to be lucky once.”
Under-car devices have been used on a number of occasions by the new IRA. In the past ten years, they have been responsible for the death of one PSNI member and the injury of another two, as well as the death of a prison warder.
The incident comes amid a renewed focus on the PSNI over their continued harassment of republicans and a scandal over their arrest of journalists investigating police collusion.
SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly said that the potentially deadly attack was “deeply concerning” and that the PSNI target “was very lucky”. She said there was little support for such action.
Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly said he was relieved that no one was injured. “Those responsible will not succeed in dragging our society backwards,” he said. “They have nothing to offer the people of this community.”