Two police officers injured in west Belfast explosion

Two police officers are reported to have been injured in an explosion in west Belfast after a device was thrown at them as they investigated reports of a robbery at a bookmakers on the Shaws Road.  According to the reports the injuries are not life-threatening but one officer sustained serious arm injuries.

Adds  “ONH and the other dissident groups cannot succeed where, as they point out themselves, the Provos failed”

Update  The BBC are now reporting that three officers were injured when the device, “possibly a pipe-bomb”, exploded.

Further Update  From the iol report

One of the officers is set to undergo emergency surgery on a serious arm injury later while his two colleagues are recovering from less serious shrapnel injuries.

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  • plus four

    Upping the ante in the West. When was the last serious attack on the cops in WB? I can’t recall one for a long time.

  • Zig70

    You can have an Irish passport, spend your nights listening to diddly dee and drinking Guinness. The only difference is which bunch of crooks you pay your taxes to. What are they fighting for? Free cheese?
    Before anyone starts on why ‘the troubles’ and just the same as SF, we’re along way from no house, ergo no vote and no job, then something had to give. I wouldn’t agree with murdering people to achieve your aims but the status quo couldn’t remain.
    Now though, what difference is it going to make? Hell if you want to pay in euro’s, they’ll be taken.

  • Pete Baker
  • pippakin

    Is it possible the dissidents are challenging the provos more than they are challenging the Brits? Or is it possible SF are doing a deal with the dissidents?

    Interesting but ultimately worthless. Let them eat cheese.

  • Stephen Ferguson

    Is a United Ireland any closer after this attack???

  • Mark McGregor

    God love them.

  • Pete Baker

    From the linked post.

    During Martin Mcguinness’s early days as head of the IRA’s Derry Brigade in the early 1970s, he is said to have made the city’s center “look as if it had been bombed from the sky without causing the death of a single civilian”; while a decade later he sat on the IRA’s army council while it approved the bombing of the hotel used by the British Cabinet for 1984 Tory Conference and, two years later, he told delegates at a Sinn Fein conference that the party’s “unapologetic support for the right of Irish people to oppose …in arms the British forces of occupation… is a principle… it will never, never, never change, because the war against British rule must continue until freedom is achieved.” [added emphasis]

    That’s Martin McGuinness, 1986.

  • DC

    I’ve just received the photo of the incident:

    Actually, hang on..damn it..that’s last century…

  • Jimmy

    You miss the point. They know this won’t achieve a United Ireland. They do this because they enjoy it.

  • OldSod

    Very poor taste. Two police officers responding and carrying out their legitimate duty after a bookie has been reportedly robbed, who are then injured by a terrorist bomb and all you can do is make fun of them by posting a picture of injured German WWII soldiers.
    A cheap, tasteless joke at the expense of brave officers and their families who no doubt are out of their minds with fear and worry.

  • Pete Baker

    Update The BBC are now reporting that three officers were injured when the device, “possibly a pipe-bomb”, exploded.

  • billy

    DC.. you’re obviously quite sick in posting your photo. . its not even a joke.I think you really need to talk to somebody . If I was you I would seek professional mental help for any underlying issues. Bye the way I aint joking !!!

  • Dr Concitor

    What are you trying to say, DC? There is a police officer lying in hospital at this minute with serious injuries and you post that! I think the link should be removed.

  • DC

    There is a serious message in there!

  • Dr Concitor


  • DC

    It’s abstract.

    Think holding an outdated view of what the police are.

    Think the crudeness of violence and futility of war.

    Think of it clearly belonging in the last century.

    But also the reason you and everyone spotted the horror of it serves to highlight the plight of the PSNI – as we all experienced a sense of pain and it should act to motivate ourselves in standing up to it – these terrorist acts.

  • Dr Concitor

    Fair enough DC, But I think your initial post was open to other interpretations, which I won’t even go into.

  • DC

    Provocative I know.

  • Dr C, I have a query about another matter you raised on Slugger recently. Can you please contact me via the email address on NALIL blog?

  • Chris Donnelly

    A boy on a bicycle threw the device?
    Could the possible “pipe-bomb” end up being a firework?

  • DC

    It says a young man, but you’re right, PSNI should ditch guns and just launch a few fireworks back.

    Sure what’s a burn or pain or loss of eyesight here or there.

    Inflicting pain used to be Sinn Fein’s leitmotif, I understand your high pain threshold and tolerance of it, others mightn’t.

  • Pete Baker

    Further Update From the iol report

    One of the officers is set to undergo emergency surgery on a serious arm injury later while his two colleagues are recovering from less serious shrapnel injuries.

  • joeCanuck

    shrapnel injuries

    Right; that disposes of the “..sure it’s just a boy throwing a firework..” theory.

  • qwerty12345

    The distance between firework and blast bomb really isnt very great.

    In any case such reckless futile actions should be condemned unreservedly. I hope the injured are restored to health and those responsible restored to sanity.

  • plus four

    UTV say Brian Rowan took a call from ONH with a recognised codeword saying it was a ‘russian grenade’. The severity of the injuries completely rule out a ‘kid firing a firework’. If you look at pictures from the scene you’ll see a chunk blown out of a kerbstone. Why so desperate to play this down, Chris?

  • billy

    russian made grenades , semtex used in other recent attacks on psni officers . It would appear intelligence has let the psni down quite badly. I have no doubt this latest attack will have some long lasting effects
    Quote : ”Mr Baggott rejected any suggestion that republican districts like west Belfast could again become ’no go’ areas for the police if such murder bids continued.”

  • OldSod

    To be fair, the explanation you give is not the most logical message one would take from the picture. I still feel it is inappropriate to post such a picture, but that is for the good folks at Slugger O’Toole to decide, not me.

    Back onto topic.
    This incident does highlight the danger police face when they turn up at reported crimes. They never really know what is waiting for them, at work, at home, under their car or at their next call. That’s a pretty crap way to live.
    Its a very sick ideology that encourages and celebrates these kind of acts.

  • OldSod

    I think you are right, it will push the police to take such precautions, that there might as well be “no go areas”, because whats the point in saying somewhere is not a “no go area” if you have to go in armored landrovers and helicopters etc.

    I do however think that it is very unrealistic to expect intelligence to give warning about everything or preempt every attack planned. It’s an inexact science, based on human resources, judgment and hedging your bets as best as possible.

    I really don’t know whats next, but things will sadly get worse before they get better I think. We just have not moved n enough to put all this crap behind us.

  • slappymcgroundout

    I don’t suppose that anyone has considered that this might be “ordinary” crime?

    Re the first question in that vid, to wit, do you think this was a setup, right, so they could lob a pipe bomb in their general direction and not shoot them instead. Look, it may be a setup, but if it was, then it’s amateur hour.

    I was waiting for the question, did the two officers who weren’t all that injured get off a shot or two in return? If not, why not? Was their line of fire not clear/safe (i.e., did they have a clear line of fire and could they return fire without placing third persons in danger)? The young man is riding a bike and can only throw so far and to be reasonably accurate he needs to be fairly close, and unless he’s practiced this before, he probably will be riding the bike at a slower speed than if he had some practice in throwing at a higher speed. In other words, rather than think of armored landrovers and helicopters and no-go areas, you might ask yourself the more important question, why weren’t the cops simply shot with a firearm? To go over some relevant items, the contrast is that with a firearm, certainly more lethal, you can shoot from farther away and be more accurate than your toss of the pipe bomb in their general direction, you can shoot from cover, in case they do manage some return fire, and what with the greater distance away from them, easier to make good your escape when the time comes. In other words, there’s a reason why the PIRA and some other revolutionary movements didn’t go around throwing pipe bombs from bicycles. The reason is, isn’t all that effective and will likely get you killed. So, again, if this was the dissies, then this was well and truly amateur hour and they might want to pack it in before they get themselves killed (sooner or later, someone will return fire and a man on a bike makes for a rather good target).

    Lastly, hope that those injured are soon healthy and back on the job.

  • HeinzGuderian

    What’s that pip ? These terrorists are unjustified ?? I think that is the very point Pete is trying to make ??

  • OldSod

    Well I can answer that one:
    1) The attacker would no longer have presented a lethal threat AFTER throwing the bomb. In fact any officer who shot someone AFTER throwing the bomb, would probably find themselves in courts with attempted murder (or murder) or some other such charge. Think about it, what purpose would be fulfilled by shooting someone AFTER the damage is done? I would agree that is is reasonable to shoot them (because they deserve it and they probably would be armed), but the law and the courts would probably not agree with that evaluation.
    2) I would say that any officer still uninjured was probably taking cover or just in shock. Despite what you see in the movies, people do not react in commando fashion, more in surprise, shock, fear etc.

  • al

    Source: UTV

    Meanwhile, security journalist Brian Rowan has received a call from someone claiming to be from Óglaigh na hÉireann, who admitted responsiblity for the attack

    “It was a call to my mobile phone. I had no pen or paper on me at the time so I don’t have a verbatim note of what was said. But the caller said he represented the Belfast Brigade of Óglaigh na hÉireann, they admitted responsibility for last night’s attack in Andersonstown.

    “I think they may have used the term ambush, and they said something about a Russian type or Russian style grenade used in the attack. And they gave a code word that I recognised, a code word they used when they called me to admit the attack on Palace Barracks in Holywood.”

  • DC


    What prompted me to post it was Mark McGregor’s comment and I know he knows some of the songs like the PSNI will always be the RUC to me – in nationalist circles it was of course the SS RUC.

    So it wasn’t logical – it was the anachronistic placed beside the contemporary to show the ridiculousness of it. Because in today’s world we need states that provide policies that are intelligently designed whether to control immigration, to generate wealth and combat market excesses, not raw violence and crude terrorism. Especially thinking that doing it will somehow lead to a united Ireland, which will only come about through intelligently designed policy and consensus – one where everyone will be better off.

    At the moment Ireland is close to bankrupt so unless both Britain and Ireland become bankrupt together and no one has anything else left to lose – I can’t see a united Ireland any time soon!

    The dissidents are nothing other than gangs conscious of the appeal of old nationalist sentiment and are trying to replicate atavistic terror ‘thrills’ and in doing so gain some credibility – while at the same time they make money for themselves. Hence robbing of the bookies which will fund terrorism and augment their own power base, but on the whole it is just about lining their own pockets illegally – because their cause will not bring a united Ireland into effect.

  • slappymcgroundout

    (1) the problem is, we don’t know how much of a threat he constituted after throwing the bomb. But we do know that he just threw a bomb at the cops. That would be enough to protect the police from both prosecution and disciplinary action. After having a bomb thrown at them, no one is going to be too particular when it comes to the matter of whether the soul who just got finished throwing the bomb was still an imminent danger to life (he certainly was just a second or two ago). Should the case ever go before a judge, jury, or disciplinary board, the advocate for the police simply make the same point that they always do, to wit, if the soul has the gumption to attacked armed and trained police officers he is surely a danger to the community, most of whom don’t have that training and aren’t otherwise walking about armed. The policeman’s advocate would also be sure to relate that if some can’t fire back when our man is 30 yards away and on a bike, they likely won’t apprehend him and so he’ll be free to throw another bomb the following night.

    (2) I know that this isn’t the movies, and I understand the need to take cover (should be instinctual, after appropriate training). All I wanted to know was, well, if the question had been asked, then we would know more about what happened following the explosion, i.e., they took cover but by that time the assailant was out of range, around the corner, there were third persons in the area so it was unsafe to return fire, etc. Hopefullly, if nothing else, this will get them to keep their interval, i..e, they won’t be standing so near each other and so the bomb won’t be quite so dangerous and will be easier for some to find their cover and look to return fire.

  • joeCanuck


    Why don’t you offer yourself to the PSNI as an expert tactician; I’m sure they would snap you up and pay a decent salary.

  • slappymcgroundout

    Joe, they are planning cutbacks. But if they want a freebie, here goes. More officers at the scene. One or more of whom stands lookout. Let our bomb throwing miscreant decide if he wishes to lob the bomb when he knows he’s being observed at the time. You wouldn’t find that attitude in your more normal police department, but then again, most normal police departments are conducting operations in a war zone.

    And sorry, Joe, but you don’t have to be an “expert”. How many times have you heard and/or read wee Willie Frazer complaining about how long it takes the police to respond? Heck, even Baggott himself just said the same thing in this instance, that it takes us some time to respond in some instances, owing to our need to keep our own people safe. So was someone standing lookout over the area? If you’re worried about walking into an ambush, it might help to have a lookout or two when you finally get to where you want to go.

    Lastly, you do know how the “expertise” works here, yes? Same as in the military. Most lessons learned are negative ones, i.e., someone died for nothing and so let’s figure out why that happened and do our best to see that it doesn’t happen again. So someone has already died to make the point that lookouts are needed when you’re under a dissident threat. No reason that I can see why more need die for an already established proposition.

  • plus four

    It appears that various reports of ONH having managed to ship in proper arms from Eastern Europe may not have been bullshit after all, sadly.

  • OldSod

    Slappy, you might be right about a police officer ultimately being acquitted in that scenario, but I could guarantee that this would take many years and quite some time in court. It is also quite likely that the bomber would become another martyr and people would be screaming “shoot to kill” etc. For every person who would agree with the officers actions, there would also be plenty prepared to scream at the top of their lungs for the officer to be hung drawn and quartered for “shooting a man who was unarmed at that time”. Sadly, those who scream loudest tent to be heard over the decent majority. Think about how it would sound when the coroner or ombudsman announces that the terrorist was unarmed and on a bike at the time he was shot in the back? Between the liberal left, SF, dissidents, tabloids etc, it would end up a hysteria circus.
    I would not like to be in the shoes of any officer on the receiving end of that witch hunt!

  • pinni

    I’m not sure what to think of it, but this article on the IRA at makes for very interesting reading.

  • JJ Malloy

    hahah that article so full of BS it’s ridiculous