Military assault rifle used in attempt to kill police

PACEMAKER BELFAST  27/11/2015 The Bullet holes in the PSNI car after last nights attack. A heavy calibre gun was used in an attack on a police patrol car in west Belfast, police have said.'Up to eight shots struck the passenger side of the car parked at Rossnareen Avenue, at about 18:50 GMT on Thursday.'Two male officers who were in the car were not injured but were said to have been badly shaken.'Police described it as a "mindless, reckless attempt to kill officers". Dissident republicans are being blamed. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 27/11/2015 The Bullet holes in the PSNI car after last nights attack. A heavy calibre gun was used in an attack on a police patrol car in west Belfast, police have said.'Up to eight shots struck the passenger side of the car parked at Rossnareen Avenue, at about 18:50 GMT on Thursday.'Two male officers who were in the car were not injured but were said to have been badly shaken.'Police described it as a "mindless, reckless attempt to kill officers". Dissident republicans are being blamed. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press

Police are attempting to tracking the movements of the car used in the attempted murder of officers in west Belfast.

Two PSNI officers escaped injury when a gunman opened fire on their police vehicle in Rossnareen Avenue at around 6.50pm on Thursday.

The vehicle was struck by gunfire eight times.

It is believed a military assault rifle was used.

The detective leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Campbell, said: “We believe the gunman travelled to and from the scene in a black BMW 3 Series bearing the false number plate 05 C 24774. This vehicle was later found on fire in Cluain Mor Drive.

“We now know that this car had been reported stolen from an address in Ashbourne in county Meath on September 7, 2015. The genuine registration of this vehicle is 05 LH 5364.

“It is critical to our investigation that we gather as much information as possible about the movements of the BMW between the time it was stolen and it being used in Thursday’s gun attack.

“I am appealing to residents on both sides of the border - did you see this vehicle at any time after September 7th? Can you help us trace the movements of the vehicle either in the Republic of Ireland or as it made its way north across the border and into Northern Ireland? Do you know have any information to assist this investigation? Any detail, no matter how small, could be important.

“We have established that the owner of the stolen vehicle and the individual whose car registration was duplicated on the false plates are both entirely innocent of any involvement in this heinous act and they have been excluded from our enquiries.”

Anyone with information about the movements of the car can contact the PSNI from Northern Ireland by calling 101, or from the Republic of Ireland by calling 048 9065222 and asking for Major Investigation Team detectives at Ladas Drive.

The PSNI are working closely with the Garda Síochána and callers in the Republic of Ireland can also give information to officers at Ashbourne Garda Station, Garda District HQ, County Meath on 01 801 0600 or via the Garda confidential number 1-800-666-111.