Police issue plea for movement of dissident bombers in east Belfast

Detectives investigating the attempted murder of a police officer with a bomb placed under a car say the terrorists responsible may have had support in east Belfast.

Two cars, a green Skoda Octavia and silver Saab 95, can been seen on CCTV footage entering east Belfast on the night the bomb was planted.

Dissident republicans are believed to have been behind the attack.

However the two cars are unaccounted for over a hour in an area of east Belfast associated as Loyalist before the bomb was planted.

Detective Superintendent Sean Wright has urged anyone who may have seen the cars in inner east Belfast between midnight and 2am on Saturday June 1 to contact detectives.

“They have remained in the east Belfast area, wherever they have been they have felt safe and secure in going there, I want to know where they were in that period of time,” he said.

“Particularly in those areas of the lower Newtownards Road, Albertbridge Road, Beersbridge Road, Mersey Street and Sydenham.

“Those vehicles were in that area, whether they were parked up or whether they were in someone else’s house hiding away until such times they felt it safe to plant a bomb under a police officer’s car.”

The bomb, described as a sophisticated device was discovered at Shandon Park Golf Club later on June 1.

The club, with at least 70 people present, including families and children, was evacuated after staff were alerted.

Detective Superintendent Sean Wright has released new CCTV footage which shows the movement of two cars.

“Two weeks ago terrorists were getting ready to carry out their plan to murder a police officer in east Belfast by planting a bomb under his car,” he said.

“Thankfully their plan didn’t work, but by transporting then placing a car under a vehicle in a built-up area, these terrorists put the lives of that officer, his family, his neighbours and the broader community at serious risk.

“I have previously appealed for information about two vehicles which are important to my investigation. Those vehicles are a green Skoda Octavia (01-D-78089) and a silver Saab 95 (NFZ3216).”

The senior detective said he believes the cars were involved in the planting of the bomb.

He gave a timeline of the two cars coming into east Belfast via the Newtownards at 00.08am.

The Saab disappears while the Skoda is last seen at 00.18 before disappearing for just over an hour.

“I know then that both cars travelled along the Newtownards Road at the same time back towards the police officers house in east Belfast at 01.26 min, and this is when I believe they planted the bomb,” he said.

“On the CCTV you can see two cars travelling back along the Newtownards Road back towards Belfast city centre at 1.33am.

“I believe that the terrorists had already planted the bomb at this stage and they were in the process of fleeing the scene.

“At around 01.50 these two cars were found on fire in the Etna Drive area of north Belfast, however there is a period of over an hour when these two vehicles were unaccounted for, and I want to know where they were.”

Mr Wright has urged anyone out in inner east Belfast around that time to check the photos in their phones, their dashcams and CCTV for images that may help the police investigation.

“Violent dissident republicans have already demonstrated they don’t care who they hurt and don’t care who they kill, and nor do they listen to the overwhelming wishes and voice of our community.

“They are simply anti-peace and anti-democracy,” he said.

“Their reckless violence cannot be allowed to continue and my appeal to the public today is please support me, support my investigation team, help me identify the people involved so we can stop them harming our communities in the future.”