POLICE are treating a gun attack on officers in North Belfast last night as “attempted murder“. People in the area said they heard between 10 and 15 shots being fired at three police vehicles as they drove along the Crumlin Road at about 7pm.
No injuries were reported. There was a heavy police presence in the area at the time due to a band parade connected to the loyalist protest camp at nearby Twaddell Avenue. Police say the shots were fired from a point near Brompton Park which is a shot distance from Holy Cross Church. A silver Volkswagen Passat, beleived to be used by the gunmen, was found partially burnt-out at nearby Butler Place. Firefighters attended the burning car, having been called by residents who feared that their hiuses might catch fire. After the atttack a police helicopter hovered over the area while officers used spotlights fixed to Land Rovers to examine the car from a distance and shone torches into the front gardens of houses on the Crumlin Road.
One man from the area said he initially thought loyalists had attacked nationalist homes. “We heard the shots and my mother shouted for everyone to get down,” he said. “There must have been 10 to 15 shots. The shooting went on for three or four seconds.” Chief Superintendant George Clarke described the shooting as “attepted murder”. The attack was also condemned by the main political parties. DUP MP Nigel Dodds said it appeared “to be the work of dissident republicans”. Shame Fein North Belfast MLA Gerry (the mouthpiece) Kelly described the shooting as “reckless”. “Whoever was behind this attack need to come forward to this community and explain their actions. To date they have failed to do so and act solely on their own behalf,” he said. SDLP councillor Nicola Mallon said nightly protest parades since the Twelfth “have created a highly volatile situation in the Ardoyne/Twaddell area” and the attack was “a blatant attempt to ratchet tensions up further”. She said the gunmen had displayed a “reckless disregard for life” by firing shots on a busy road. UUP councillor David Browne also condemned the shooting while Alliance North Belfast representative John Blair said there “can be no justification ” for it. Meanwhile, two men arrested in connection with last week’s attempted bomb attack on Victoria Square in central Belfast were released unconditionally last night.
With many thanks to: Connla Young and Maeve Connolly, The Irish News.
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- Ardoyne gun attack: Three police vehicles shot at in dissident ‘murder attempt’ in north Belfast (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Murder bid on PSNI officers close to Belfast interface (newsletter.co.uk)
- Ardoyne gun attack: Lucky escape for police after dissidents open fire on police convoy in north Belfast (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Shots fired at police vehicles North Belfast (lunaticoutpost.com)
- Shots fired at cops in Northern Ireland (therebel.org)
- Revealed: Dissidents Used New Rifle in North Belfast Murder Bid on Police (belfastdaily.co.uk)