Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 17:55 UK

Woman injured in car bomb attack

Forensic scientists examine the bomb damage to the car
Forensic scientists examine the bomb damage to the car

A police officer's partner was injured when a bomb exploded under her car in east Belfast.

The 38-year-old was reversing the vehicle out of the driveway of a house in Kingsdale Park at about 0730 BST on Friday when the device exploded.

She was taken to hospital with a minor arm injury and ringing in her ears.

First Minister Peter Robinson said that there "were still evil people who by this course of action think they can change political events".

"It's an appalling and evil act that was clearly intended to murder," he said.

The police said the bomb could have killed or caused serious injury.

Mark Simpsons
Mark Simpson,
BBC News, Belfast
The location of what is presumed to be a dissident republican attack is significant as it is far from the areas in which the dissidents have been most active.

This is less than a mile from Police HQ, it's in the constituency of the DUP first minister Peter Robinson, it's one of the most unionist constituencies in Northern Ireland.

Dissident republicans haven't been terribly active in Belfast as a whole in recent years, never mind east Belfast. This clearly looks like an upping of the ante.

Chief Supt Brian Maguire indicated that a device had been planted on the passenger side of the car and had someone been sitting there it could have caused a fatality.

He said they were still investigating who the intended target was but it is understood that the woman regularly gives her partner a lift to work.

He is understood to be a police dog handler.

Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said those responsible for the attack would not derail political progress and were "living in cloud cuckoo land".

"We must remain calm when facing what is undoubtedly a dangerous threat to police officers at this time," he added.

Last month, the dissident republican Real IRA admitted leaving bombs outside the homes of relatives of a police officer in Londonderry.

In March, another dissident group the Continuity IRA admitted killing police constable Stephen Carroll who was shot in Craigavon, County Armagh.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey said the latest attack was a "very serious development".

Chief Superintendent Brian Maguire said the device 'had the potential to cause death or serious injury'

"Obviously there's a lot of speculation that this is another dissident attack, similar to the one in Londonderry a couple of months ago."

The Northern Ireland Security Minister Paul Goggins described Friday's attack as "repulsive".

He said: "Mercifully this woman escaped with minor injuries but those who planted this bomb had murder in mind. They do not care who they kill."

The Chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, Barry Gilligan, also condemned the attack.

He said: "It is fortunate that this young woman was not seriously injured in this incident and our thoughts are with her and her family."

Belfast Lord Mayor Naomi Long said it was a "completely reckless and indiscriminate attack".

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