Northern Ireland

North Belfast: Police officer injured in gun attack

The shooting happened near a petrol station on the Crumlin Road Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The shooting happened near a petrol station on the Crumlin Road

A police officer has been injured in a gun attack in north Belfast.

The officer was hit twice in the arm after a number of shots were fired from a car on the Crumlin Road. A 36-year-old man has been arrested.

The incident happened at about 19:30 GMT on Sunday. The officer is in a stable condition in hospital.

Police have said their main line of inquiry is "violent dissident republicans".

The Crumlin Road remains closed on Monday morning.

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Media captionPolice say shooting in north Belfast was 'reckless madness'

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire and the NI Justice Minister Claire Sugden have described the attack as "sickening".

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said the attack was "reckless madness" and warned that there could have been "multiple deaths".

"This was a very concerted attack on our officers - a very concerted attempt to murder them," he added.

"Our main line of inquiry at the minute is violent dissident republicans. One arrest has already been made."

Mr Brokenshire said in a tweet that he had spoken to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) chief constable George Hamilton and had been briefed about the "active investigation".

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The gun attack has been condemned by various politicians

He added that his personal thoughts "were for the injured officer and appreciation of all PSNI officers who put themselves in harm's way to keep us safe".

The chief constable tweeted that "brave officers" had been "attacked by faceless people with gunfire".

Mark Lindsay, chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, said it was "an appalling act".

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The Crumlin Road is closed as police investigate the shooting

"This attack on the life of an officer is a stark reminder of the determination on the part of terrorists to murder and maim police officers," he said.

"They believe that by causing great grief to a family they are somehow advancing their warped and outdated plan. The wider community will be outraged by this attack on one of their police officers.

'Deeply disturbing'

"The police serve the entire community and wounding one individual is an attack on the entire community.

"This attempted murder underlines the fragility of our peace."

Image caption PSNI chief constable George Hamilton has tweeted his condemnation

DUP leader Arlene Foster condemned the shooting and said it was "the work of cowards". Her colleague, North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds, said it was "deeply disturbing".

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly said those responsible had "absolutely nothing to offer society and need to call a halt to these activities immediately".

Image caption The Police Federation of Northern Ireland has also tweeted about the shooting

The Social Democratic and Labour Party's Nichola Mallon said those involved in the attack were "calculating criminals intent on destabilising a community which continues to make strides toward reconciliation".

Alliance Leader Naomi Long said she believed they "intended to kill" and that "using guns in a residential area shows a callous disregard for the entire community".

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said his thoughts were with the officer for "a full recovery".

"We must find a way to end this," he added.

The leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV), Jim Allister, said the incident was a "reminder of the wickedness and criminality of all terrorism".

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