Thursday 18 July 2019

Dissidents shoot PSNI officer in drive-by attack

The scene at a petrol station on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast where a police officer was shot in the arm. Photo: PA
The scene at a petrol station on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast where a police officer was shot in the arm. Photo: PA

Rory Tevlin and Steven Alexander

The shooting of a police officer in Belfast last night has been described as "cowardly and despicable".

Dissident republicans are believed to be behind the shocking drive-by gun attack at a petrol station on the Crumlin Road at around 7.30pm. The police officer was hit in the arm after a number of shots were fired from a car. The officer is being treated in hospital but his injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

A man was arrested in connection with the shooting as the PSNI launched a major investigation.

Police Federation for Northern Ireland chairman Mark Lindsay said the shooting is a "reminder of the determination on the part of terrorists to murder and maim police officers".

DUP leader Arlene Foster condemned the shooting and said it was "the work of cowards".

"I am shocked and appalled at this evening's cowardly shooting of a police officer on the Crumlin Road," Secretary of State James Brokenshire said.

"To attack officers who are going about their daily duty protecting the entire community is sickening.

"I appeal to anyone who has info to contact PSNI immediately. My thoughts are with the officer and his family."

The attack comes as Northern Ireland prepares for fresh elections after the collapse of power-sharing.

Deputy first minister Martin McGuinness resigned in protest over a botched green energy scheme which will leave taxpayers millions out of pocket.

Dissident republicans opposed to peace have killed police, prison officers and soldiers in the past.

Read more: 'The work of cowards' - Police officer hospitalised after drive-by dissident shooting, one arrest made

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was outraged by the attack. "I utterly condemn this outrageous and cowardly act. Anyone with any relevant information should pass it on to the PSNI immediately.

"I hope the officer involved makes a full and swift recovery."

The MP for North Belfast Nigel Dodds described it as a "despicable act of terrorism".

"This is a disturbing incident which echoes back to the kind of terrorism we used to face on a daily basis," Mr Dodds said.

"These are scenes that we should all want to move away from.

"We must be mindful how a threat to the future of the political institutions can create a vacuum, which terrorists will seek to fill."

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that dissident republicans have no support.

"Initial reports suggest this cowardly act was the work of so-called dissident republicans. These people have no mandate and no support," he said.

Irish Independent

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