Northern Ireland

Dissident 'IRA' claims west Belfast mortar attack

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Media captionThe attack happened in west Belfast on Friday night

The dissident republican group which calls itself the IRA has said it was responsible for a mortar attack on a police Land Rover in west Belfast on Friday night.

The device was detonated by a command wire as the police patrol passed the City Cemetery on the Falls Road.

The device hit the Land Rover, but police say it caused minimal damage.

Dissident republican sources told the BBC the device contained a quantity of newly acquired Semtex explosives.

No-one was injured in the attack. However, a Filipino family's car was hit by debris.

The dissident group which has said it carried out the attack is the same one that murdered prison officer David Black in November 2012.

Mr Black was on his way to work at Maghaberry Prison when he was shot on the M1 motorway in County Armagh.

The dissident group has claimed that the mortar used in Friday's attack contained the military explosive Semtex and a commercial detonator.

They claim both were newly acquired - in other words, not from old supplies previously under the control of the Provisional IRA.

Until now, the police have said all weapons and explosives used by dissident republicans were previously controlled by the Provisional IRA, and not the result of new supplies.

The police said it was only through good fortune that police officers or civilians were not seriously injured or killed.

The fact that a chunk of masonry was blown from the wall suggests the device may not have fired as planned and may not have struck its intended target.

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