Northern Ireland

Belfast golf club car bomb focus of cross-border investigation

Police car at the scene Image copyright Pacemaker

Police have begun a cross-border investigation after a bomb was left under the car of an off-duty officer at a Belfast golf club.

One of the vehicles police believe was used in the murder bid was registered in the Republic of Ireland.

The device was hidden under the car at Shandon Park Golf Club in east Belfast.

Police said that the main line of inquiry was "violent dissident republicans".

On Saturday night, police examined CCTV footage and searched the car park of the club, which is located close to the PSNI headquarters on the Knock Road.

Speaking on Sunday, Det Supt Sean Wright said the investigation centres on two cars which were found burnt out in Etna Drive in north Belfast.

One was a Green Skoda Octavia with a Dublin registration, 01 D 78089.

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Media captionDet Supt Sean Wright appealed for CCTV or dash cam footage

"The other car is a Silver Saab with the registration NFZ 3216," he said.

Det Supt Wright appealed to the public for footage of the area around the golf club between 19:00 BST on Friday and 07:00 BST on Saturday.

"If you were a pedestrian, a driver of a car, do you have dashcam footage? If you live in that area, do you have CCTV? We want to see it," he said.

Officer shaken

He said that the device was "designed to kill" and that it was "sufficiently sophisticated that had it exploded the likely outcome would have been murder".

"The device was capable of functioning," he added. "We are extremely fortunate it did not go off."

He added that it was not just the off-duty officer who was put in danger on Saturday, but the many others attending the club and living in the surrounding area.

Assistant Chief Constable George Clarke said the officer whose car was targeted was "obviously shaken" by the experience.

"We will do our very best to support him, to ensure that he is helped through what will be a very difficult and traumatic time in the days to come," he added.

Image caption Police and Army bomb disposal experts attended the scene

"Officers know the need to be vigilant. They know the risks they face and despite that, they come to work and face us all every day."

He blamed dissident republicans for the attack, saying they had acted "recklessly, cruelly and viciously".

Police officers throughout Northern Ireland have been told to step up their personal security.

The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said there was a need for extra vigilance.

On Saturday, the bomb was examined by Army bomb disposal experts, who declared it to be a "viable improvised explosive device".

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