Foiled Car Bomb Attempt In Belfast Condemned
Dissident republicans are blamed after a device was placed under a police officer's car in Northern Ireland.
They said the unexploded viable bomb, which was discovered by the off duty policeman on Sunday afternoon, was clearly intended to kill.
His car was parked at his home on the Upper Newtownards Road - a busy route into the city centre.
The scene, which was sealed off until late on Sunday night amid an extensive security and forensic operation, is close to Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) headquarters at Knock and the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont.
Justice Minister David Ford condemned those responsible, saying: "This was an attack not only on a police officer and his family but on our whole community. The officer was serving the community - he was working for all of us."
People living in nearby homes were evacuated in the alert. A local church offered them shelter while army technical officers worked to make the scene safe.
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton said it was very fortunate no one was killed or injured.
"Initial investigations would indicate that this was a viable device placed below an officer's car some time in the last 48 hours," he said on Sunday night.
"It was clearly intended to kill the police officer. His family and neighbours in the vicinity were also put at risk of serious harm.
"Obviously there are people out there who are still intent on causing murder and mayhem."
Dissidents have repeatedly targeted security force members in recent years.
In November, long-serving prison officer David Black, 52, was shot dead in a motorway ambush in Co Armagh as he drove to work.
A group styling itself the "new IRA" claimed responsibility for that attack. The faction was formed in the summer when a number of splinter groups joined forces.
In April 2011, newly-qualified police officer Ronan Kerr, 25, died when a dissident booby trap car bomb exploded under his vehicle at his home in Omagh.
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