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Officer escapes after police van attacked in 'attempted murder'

There was more violence in Northern Ireland this evening as politicians urged calm on the streets of Belfast.

The Uppernewtonards Road in east Belfast (File photo)
The Uppernewtonards Road in east Belfast (File photo)
Image: Google Street View

POLICE IN NORTHERN Ireland say that one of their officers was lucky to escape without injury in an attack on a police van in east Belfast that is being described as “attempted murder”.

A patrol duty car was attacked by 15 masked individuals just after 7.30pm tonight in the Upper Newtownards Road area of East Belfast, the PSNI said in a statement.

The windows of the vehicle were smashed and a petrol bomb was thrown into the car whilst the officer was still in the vehicle but they managed to escape without injury.

“It is completely unacceptable that officers who were carrying out their professional duty on behalf of the community should be subjected to a potentially murderous attack,” Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton said this evening.

“This was a planned attempt to kill a Police Officer which also put the lives of the public in danger and it is fortunate there were no injuries as a result of this attack.”

He went on to appeal to those involved in ongoing protests over the restriction in the number of days the union flag can be flown over Belfast City Hall to listen to politicians and stop protesting “before someone is seriously injured or killed”.

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The past week has seen a number of violent incidents across Belfast over the controversial vote by Belfast City Council last week to limit the number of days the union flag is flown to 15.

This was after nationalist councillors called for the flag to be taken down altogether which was met with criticism from unionist representatives.

An Alliance Party proposed compromise of 15 days was eventually voted in favour of, although unionist councillors voted against the measure.

Read: House and car of Alliance Party councillor attacked in NI violence

Read: Teenage boys among those charged over Belfast unrest

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Hugh O'Connell

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