BELFAST (Reuters) - Police in Northern Ireland said on Saturday they believed that dissident Republicans tried to kill police officers in an incident overnight.
Police said they received a report around midnight of a loud bang in the town of Craigavon shortly before a Belfast-based newspaper took a telephone call claiming that a device had been fired at a police patrol but had missed its target.
“At this stage we believe the device to be viable and that this was an attempt by dissident Republican terrorists to murder police officers,” Northern Ireland’s police service said.
It was unclear if the device was fired at the passing patrol car or if the attack was set up to target police officers as they responded to reports from the public, police said.
In June, police discovered a bomb under a police officer’s car in Belfast that they said was probably planted by militant nationalists.
A 1998 peace deal largely ended three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, but police officers are sporadically targeted by small splinter groups of mostly Republicans opposed to Britain’s rule over the province.
Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Mark Potter