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PSNI officers targeted in murder bid return to work the next day

Police on the Suffolk Road in north Belfast at the weekend, following Friday night's murder bid

Police on the Suffolk Road in north Belfast at the weekend, following Friday night's murder bid

Police officers whose vehicle was hit by gunfire as they patrolled Belfast were back on duty the next day, it has been revealed.

Police Federation chairman Terry Spence said the escalation in attacks on officers was a “worrying development” but added they would not be deterred from their duty.

The murder bid on the Suffolk Road on Friday night was the second time officers had been fired at in the city in just over 24 hours.

A PSNI Land Rover was hit by two bullets as it drove along the road in west Belfast at around 11.45pm. No one was injured in the incident.

On Thursday night 10 shots were fired at a police patrol in the north of the city. Again officers involved escaped injury.

A military-grade Kalashnikov weapon was used to fire the shots at police vehicles which were towing digital signs through a residential area near Ardoyne.

Two vehicles and one digital sign were hit by the bullets as they passed by the flashpoint area in Thursday’s incident. Police have recovered one weapon.

PSNI district commander for the area, Chief Superintendent George Clarke, said his officers were lucky to be alive and would not be deterred from doing their job. “For the second night in a row, dedicated community police officers have found themselves under attack from terrorists,” he said. “It is fortunate that we are not dealing with fatalities.”

Mr Spence said there was a concern about the surge in republican activity. “There have been 17 bomb attacks recently, most of them directed at police on mobile patrol. These attacks are deeply worrying and deeply concerning.”

Mr Spence, who is concerned about the “consolidation” within republican groups, said he had raised the matter with the Chief Constable who assured him that security around the Province will be kept under constant review.

Mr Spence pointed out that despite the attack on Friday night, the same officers were on duty the next day. “They are determined that terrorists will not succeed. Those officers who were in that vehicle were back on duty the next day. They are courageous and determined.”

 

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