Dissident bomb was intended to kill police officer
DISSIDENT republicans have been blamed for a bomb left under the car of an off-duty policeman in the North.
The device was found beneath the vehicle parked off the busy Newtownards Road in east Belfast. Police said the incident was a clear attempt to kill.
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said: "It is very fortunate that this device was detected before it exploded and that no one was killed or seriously injured.
"This was a viable device placed below an officer's car some time in the last 48 hours. It was clearly intended to kill the officer. His family and neighbours in the vicinity were also put at risk.
"Obviously there are people out there who are still intent on causing murder and mayhem."
It is understood the officer found the bomb himself. His home is close to the PSNI HQ at Knock and the Northern Assembly at Stormont.
Dissidents have repeatedly targeted security force members in recent years in a bid to destabilise the peace process.
In November, long-serving prison officer David Black (52) was shot dead in a motorway ambush in Co Armagh as he drove to work. A group styling itself the "new IRA" claimed that attack.
In April 2011, newly qualified officer Ronan Kerr (25) died when a dissident booby trap bomb exploded under his car in Omagh.
Police Federation chairman Terry Spence said yesterday's device was planted by "cowardly thugs".