MORTAR AND GUN ATTACK FOLLOW -UP OPERATION !

POLICE have carried out door-to-door inquiries at the scene of a mortar and gun attack in West Belfast, almost a week after a patrol was targeted by dissident republicans. Part of the Glen Road, from the Shaw’s Road to the Hannahstown Hill Road, was closed off for a time yesterday morning as searches of the area were carried out.

Dissident group Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH ) claimed it had carried out the attack on officers in the early hours of Friday. The Irish News received a coded claim of responsibility on Monday. Footage of the incident, in which an improvised mortar narrowly missed a police Land Rover before exploding on the road, has since been posted online. The footage – still shots of which were revealed in the Irish News yesterday, shows the remote-controlled device was operated by a mobile phone. It is thought to be the first time that dissident republicans have used a horizontal mortar, previously employed by the Provisional IRA.

At first police did not release any information in relation to the attack but on Monday issued an appeal for information. No-one was hurt but the armoured vehicle was slightly damaged. Chief Superintendent George Clarke said the ” potentially murderous attack ” was aimed at killing a police officer. A police spokesman said yesterday : ” Detectives investigating a reported mortar attack and a shot fired ar a police vehicle on the Glen Road at around 4am, during the early hours of last Friday morning July 27, are currently carrying out a number of searches in the area.” Forensic officers were yesterday at the scene of the attack searching for evidence. As well as the door-to-door inquires police stopped a motorists to appeal for information. Ulster Unionist Policing Board member Ross Hussey said the attack was ” deeply disturbing “. ” We do not want to return to the days when certain areas were deemed as ‘ no-go areas ‘ for the security forces.’ “It is sickening that PSNI officers who were taking part in a routine patrol were targeted in such a cowardly way. ” It is clear that whoever carried out this attack did so with the intent of killing PSNI officers.” The attack took place on the same day that a number of dissident groups – including Derry-based Republican Action Against Drugs and the Real IRA – announced that they would be joining together. However, ONH is not part of that merger and remains a separate entity - full statement blow………

OGLAIGH NA hEIREANN SAYS IT WON’T BE PART OF MERGER

The dissident group Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) will not be part of a merger of a number of other paramilitary organisations. Sources within the organisation say that ONH, responsible for a number of high-profile gun and bomb attacks, will remain a separate entity. A statement released to the Irish News announced that the Real IRA and Derry – based group Republican Action Against Drugs, had merged. A number of other former members of the Provisional IRA from Belfast and Lurgan have also merged with the group to form one larger organisation. However, ONH, a group that emerged in 2009, will not be joining up with the new group. Using a recognised codeword the group also claimed responsibility for a gun attack in Ardoyne on the Twelfth of July, in which 17 shots were fired at police lines. A masked man was filmed stepping out of a crowd of rioting youths and firing a burst of shots from an automatic rifle. The organisation said it had fired shots ” in response ” to the firing of plastic baton rounds by the PSNI. Police discharged nine plastic baton rounds during the disturbances following an Orange Order march through the area. The group also claimed that previously unreported shots were fired at police lines with a handgun and seven blast bombs thrown during the disturbances.

WITH MANY THANKS TO : ALLISON MORRIS, IRISH NEWS.

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