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The police car which was petrol-bombed last night with a PSNI officer inside Screengrab via ITVNews/YouTube

Alliance Party: "This was an attempt to kill police officers"

A gang of 15 men attacked an unmarked police car opposite the offices of an Alliance Party MP last night, as violence worsens in Belfast.

THE LEADER OF the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland has said a police officer could have been killed in a petrol bomb attack by masked men on an unmarked police car in Belfast last night.

The attack on the car, which happened opposite the offices of Alliance Party MP Naomi Long in east Belfast, was the latest in a series of continuing violent incidents in Northern Ireland following a vote to fly the union flag at Belfast City Hall only on certain days.

The PSNI say the officer was lucky to escape without injury. They are treating the attack as attempted murder.

“This attack served no purpose and must be condemned by all,” said Alliance Leader David Ford MLA.

We could have been looking at the deaths of police officers. This was an attempt to kill police officers.

HE called on the DUP and the UUP to withdraw a proposal to fly the union flag more often at Parliament Buildings, saying that it was “unhelpful and destabilising” at a critical time.

“While I respect the right to peaceful protest, it is clear that there is a need for these protests to end due to the violence and the increased tensions on the streets,” he said.

The homes and offices of several members of the Alliance Party have been attacked over the past week after the party put forward a compromise motion at Belfast City Council to restrict the number of days the union flag flies over the council building to 15 per year.

The motion was brought after nationalist councillors had originally called for the flag to be taken down altogether.

The Alliance Party, Sinn Féin and the SDLP all voted in favour of the amended motion while the DUP and the UUP strongly opposed the move.

Naomi Long MP, whose office was across from the car, said there needed to be “strict adherence to the rule of law and respect for the democratic process” before lives are lost in the continuing violence.

“There can be no justification for attacks on the police, elected representatives or anyone else,” she said.

Read: Officer escapes after police car attacked in ‘attempted murder’ >

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