Northern Ireland

North Belfast: Police blame dissident republicans for attack

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Media captionCh Supt Nigel Grimshaw said the device bore all the hallmarks of dissident republicans

An attack in which a device was thrown or launched at police vehicles in north Belfast, bore all the hallmarks of dissident republicans police have said.

Ch Supt Nigel Grimshaw said the device "detonated in the air" during the attack at Victoria Parade in the New Lodge on Tuesday night.

There are no reports of any injuries and the police vehicle was not damaged.

However, Ch Supt Grimshaw said a parked car had its windscreen smashed and shrapnel sprayed inside it.

Callous

"Had somebody been sitting in that car they would have been either killed or seriously injured," he said.

"I'm really grateful this morning that neither my officers or any members of the community have been hurt.

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Media captionA car belonging to a member of the public had its windscreen smashed in the incident

"We know that these types of incidents are carried out by a small but mindless number of people within our communities. They have shown a callous disregard for the safety of the local community and the police officers who serve it."

Families living nearby were moved from their homes overnight as a security operation got under way.

They were offered shelter in a local community centre.

The police patrol was investigating reports of an attempted burglary when the attack was carried out.

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Image caption The scene of the attack in north Belfast

A woman who lives in the area said she was awakened by a very loud bang and saw a flash of light. She said it was terrifying and that she heard children crying.

Army bomb officers and police were called to the scene. Houses at Duncairn Parade were evacuated.

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Image caption Families were moved from their homes during the security operation

Some people have now been allowed to return to their homes. However, a police cordon remains in place at the scene.