Defiant message to bombers after failed weekend attacks

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Politicians and the Police Federation have sent a defiant message to those behind recent failed bomb attacks.

One unionist MLA demanded that the would-be killers “get off the backs” of the Province’s peace-loving majority, while federation chairman Terry Spence vowed that republicans opposed to the peace process will not succeed in plunging the country back into conflict.

It came after an explosive device was detonated near a PSNI vehicle patrol on Friday night using a command wire. A Filipino family were treated for shock and their car was damaged by a device targeting four officers inside a Land Rover near the City Cemetery off the Falls Road.

Three children – 16-years, 13-years and 11-years – were passengers caught up in the bombing.

It had followed the discovery of a separate under-car bomb on Friday, which had been found a relatively short distance away.

Mr Spence said: “It was a reckless, cowardly and futile action by individuals who have nothing to offer.”

Addressing the perpetrators, UUP Policing Board member Ross Hussey MLA said: “They need to get off the backs of the people of Belfast and Northern Ireland and let the peace loving majority get on with their lives.

“They should understand that the police and intelligence services will catch up with them eventually.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “This attack is a blatant disregard not just for lives of police officers but also for safety of whole community in west Belfast.”

Justice minister David Ford said: “The people behind this attack clearly planned it but I wonder what their plan was had members of the public been injured or killed?

“The Falls Road is a main route with a constant flow of traffic and pedestrians and it was totally irresponsible to carry out this attack on the local community.”

SDLP MLA for West Belfast Alex Attwood said: “Those behind this attack are enemies of our community, and anyone with any information should contact the police immediately.”

DUP Councillor Brian Kingston said: “There is nothing glorious to be celebrated in terrorism past or present; it brings only misery.”

Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey said: “Those behind this attack clearly did not care who was injured or killed. Just a couple of hundred yards away more than 500 people were enjoying a night organised by Féile while those with no vision for the future tried to bring death and destruction to the people of West Belfast.”