Northern Ireland

Twaddell Avenue, north Belfast: Device fired 'from Brompton Park area'

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Media captionThe attack happened at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast

Police have said a device launched at one of their vehicles in north Belfast was fired by a man who came out of the Brompton Park area of the city.

Dissident republicans are believed to have used a home-made rocket launcher in the attack at Twaddell Avenue shortly before 23:30 GMT on Sunday.

It struck the Land Rover and caused some damage, but no-one was injured.

Police have described the attack as a "cold, calculated attempt to kill police officers".

A section of the Crumlin Road was closed for most of the day but has since reopened.

'Completely reckless'

Police are examining CCTV and appealed for witnesses who saw a man wearing a dark hooded top and grey bottoms close to Brompton Park at that time.

Supt Muir Clarke described the attack as "idiotic".

Image caption A police operation is continuing at Twaddell Avenue

"It was a completely reckless, callous attack," he said.

"We still have a significant police operation in the area to make sure the device is safe, that the public are safe and to recover evidence so we can bring whoever did this idiotic attack before the courts."

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers condemned those responsible.

"Those who carried out this attack on police officers working to protect all communities are to be utterly condemned for their violent actions," she said.

"I would call on anyone with information to pass it to the PSNI so that those responsible can be brought to justice."

'Lethal menace'

Justice Minister David Ford said: "The perpetrators who hide in the shadows need to be caught and face justice."

Chairman of the Police Federation Terry Spence said the people who launched the attack were "bankrupt zealots who are caught in a time warp".

He said they "remain a lethal menace to society".

The MP for the area, Nigel Dodds from the Democratic Unionist Party, described the attack as "a deplorable attempt to murder police officers serving in the line of duty".

"Thankfully none of the officers was seriously injured though this will have been a horrific experience. To fire an explosive device in a built-up area is entirely reckless and callous," Mr Dodds said.

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly said such attacks were "wrong and futile".

"I am calling therefore on the people who carried out this attack to listen to the local community and call a halt to their actions before someone is seriously injured or killed," the North Belfast MLA said.