Northern Ireland

Bomb thrown at police during gun attack in west Belfast

Police officer at Foxes Glen alert
Image caption The device was found in the same area where police were shot at on Thursday

A bomb has been removed from the Foxes Glen area of west Belfast - the scene of a gun attack on officers on Thursday.

The device was found during follow-up searches related to the gun attack.

Police believe the bomb may have been thrown during the attack but did not explode.

Up to six shots were fired as three officers got out of their vehicle in the area on Thursday afternoon. No-one was injured.

A parked car was hit by the gunfire.

A controlled explosion was earlier carried out on the device. Residents moved from their homes have returned.

Police had been lured to the area following bogus reports of a burglary.

A 26-year-old man arrested over the attack has been released without charge.

Replica guns and a small quantity of ammunition were also recovered during searches of the area on Friday.

Police have apologised for the latest disruption to residents of Foxes Glen.

Detective Chief Inspector Karen Baxter said: "Our aim is to ensure the safety of the local community and police and to protect everyone.

"We would ask the public for their patience and understanding as this policing operation continues."

Image caption Two men also narrowly escaped injury after their car was struck by the gunfire.

Earlier, Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, said the gun attack would have created only "huge misery and heartbreak" had the officers been killed or injured."

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Politics programme Mr McGuinness said that he is very conscious that "there are people out there who are totally opposed to the peace process who are dedicated to trying to plunge society back into the past".

"I think it is absolutely disgraceful that three police officers were shot at in west Belfast," he said.

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