Northern Ireland

Belfast gun attack: Fresh appeal over 'new IRA' after Crimewatch

Police said people were filling their cars with petrol to find "bullets whizzing around them". Image copyright Justin Kernoghan
Image caption Police said people were filling their cars with petrol to find "bullets whizzing around them"

The PSNI is seeking fresh information about the dissident republican gunmen who targeted a police officer on a garage forecourt in Belfast.

The appeal was broadcast on BBC Crimewatch on Monday night.

It included dramatic CCTV footage of the shooting that happened in Belfast on 22 January.

The officer who was injured said he thought he was "going to die" during the attack by a group known as the new IRA.

The officer was hit at least twice in his right arm, and it is thought a bulletproof vest may have saved his life.

It is believed at least two people were involved in the attack.

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Media captionCCTV shows moment PSNI officer comes under fire at petrol station

The new IRA was formed in 2012 after a number of dissident republican organisations said they were unifying under one leadership.

It is believed to be the largest organisation of its kind.

Supt Kevin Geddes, from the PSNI, told Good Morning Ulster that the Crimewatch appeal had already generated a good response from the public, but more information was needed.

"It's too early to say exactly what (information) we've had but it's been good so far," he said.

"I would hope we would get some information from the local community in relation to the new IRA, in particular around the individuals involved in that shooting and also maybe some information on where this gun might be."

He added: "The new IRA has no support other than from what they get through fear, and we enjoy some really good support in north and west Belfast.

"I need people to actively work against them (the new IRA) and to say what they saw that night and what they know about the individuals involved."

Image caption Police have appealed for information around a burned out Audi car they believe is linked to the attack

The new IRA is believed to have been responsible for a number of attacks since its formation, including the murders of prison officers David Black and Adrian Ismay.

Supt Geddes also appealed for information around a red Audi car that police have linked to the attack.

It was later found burned out at Culmore Gardens, Andersonstown, in west Belfast.

"I know the movements of that car in December, but in January I believe that car was being driven around north and west Belfast.

"It was quite distinctive, it's a red Audi estate, only has one headlight, there's not many of them and it's about 15 years old."

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