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B DISTRICT: ACC Hamilton’s statement re viable device - Upper Newtownards Road, East Belfast

30 Dec 2012

At around 2pm this afternoon, Sunday 30th December 2012, a viable unexploded device was detected under a serving police officer's car in the Upper Newtownards Road area of East Belfast.

ATO were called to the scene and nearby residents were evacuated. Stormont Presbyterian Church was made available for these residents. The Upper Newtownards Road remains closed to traffic between the Knock Road junction and Cabin Hill Park.

ACC George Hamilton said, "It is very fortunate that this device was detected before it exploded and that no one was killed or seriously injured. Initial investigations would indicate that this was a viable device placed below an officer's car sometime in the last 48 hours. It was clearly intended to kill the police officer. His family and neighbours in the vicinity were also put at risk of serious harm.

"Obviously there are people out there who are still intent on causing murder and mayhem.

"Attacks on police officers are attacks on the entire community and cannot be allowed to continue.

"We know there are people within our communities who know who did this, we know there are people out there who know exactly what is being planned. My plea to them is not to allow this small minority to drag us back to the past.

"Our belief is that this attempted murder was carried by those opposed to peace from within Dissident Republicanism. They don't care who they attack, they don't care who they kill. They are simply anti-peace and determined to carry on bringing pain and devastation to families and communities by maiming and killing.

"The community can be assured that the Police Service of Northern Ireland will do everything possible within the law to bring those responsible to justice. However it is very important that we get information about this incident quickly. We need support from members of the public in bringing those responsible to justice. Anyone who was in the area of the Upper Newtownards Road and witnessed any unusual activity in or around this area between the junction of Cabin Hill Park and the Knock Road between Friday afternoon and lunch time today is asked to contact detectives on 0845 600 8000. Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.”