Hand 'grenade' attack on PSNI on routine patrol - incident was 'attempt to kill' police officers

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A suspected hand "grenade" was thrown at PSNI on a routine patrol in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The attack occurred shortly after 2.00am near Milltown Row, west Belfast.

A PSNI Land Rover at the scene of the attack in Belfast on Wednesday morning. (Photo: Pacemaker)

A PSNI Land Rover at the scene of the attack in Belfast on Wednesday morning. (Photo: Pacemaker)

Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts said police officers inside a Land Rover were alerted when they heard a "loud bang".

“Officers were in the Falls Road area conducting routine patrols when, shortly after 2am, a police Land Rover was struck by an object as it was driving along Milltown Row.

"A loud bang was then heard and the Land Rover made its way to a place of safety.

"Thankfully none of the officers inside the vehicle were injured and no damage was noted to the vehicle."

Chief Superintendent Roberts confirmed fragments of a "suspected grenade" were recovered at the scene.

“A police operation was immediately implemented to ensure the safety of everyone in the area and that operation is ongoing at present.

"The remnants of a suspected grenade have been recovered and taken away for forensic testing.

"Further searches are being conducted this morning to ensure there are no other devices present which could endanger members of the public."

Chief Superintendent Roberts continued: “This was a undoubtedly an attempt to kill or injure police officers who were out on duty in the early hours of the morning working to keep the public safe.

"This despicable act must be condemned by all.

“A full and thorough investigation is underway and I would appeal to anyone who noticed any recent suspicious activity in the area or who has any information which could assist us with our enquiries to contact detectives at Musgrave on 101 quoting reference number 79 04/12/19.

"Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”