BELFAST, United Kingdom: Northern Ireland’s police officers were warned to be extra-vigilant in the run-up to Saint Patrick’s Day after they were targeted in a bomb attack that narrowly avoided killing a passing Filipino family.
The bomb was left in the City Cemetery in west Belfast, by the Irish Republican community’s Falls Road stronghold, and detonated near a police vehicle patrol late Friday using a command wire.
Though targeting four officers in their vehicle, the blast damaged the car of a Filipino family, peppering it with shrapnel.
The one adult and three children aged 16, 13 and 11 inside were all badly shaken and treated for shock.
A police spokeswoman said Saturday: “This was not only a deliberate attempt to kill police officers but was an attack on the community of west Belfast, and it is only through good fortune that no-one, either police or civilian was seriously injured or killed.”
It was initially thought the device was thrown at the police vehicle, but further investigation showed it was detonated by a command wire, blowing masonry out of the cemetery wall.
The attack came just hours after a bomb was found nearby, having fallen off a vehicle and failed to explode.