PSNI say bomb found near school targeted police officers

A bomb was found near a school in North Belfast

A senior PSNI officer has said that a bomb found near a school in North Belfast was intended to kill police officers. 

The device, which was described as viable, significant and reckless, was discovered in an alleyway beside Holy Cross Boys' Primary School in Ardoyne, North Belfast around midnight last night.

People from 20 homes nearby had to be evacuated while the bomb squad was called in. Police have since taken the object away for forensic examination.

Belfast District Commander Chief Superintendent Chris Noble said "The device, which was found at the gates of a local primary school, was examined by ATO and found to be viable and capable of substantial harm."

Superintendent Noble said "There is no doubt that this device was intended to kill community police officers patrolling and tackling community issues in Ardoyne.

"Its placement and the manner in which it was left, undoubtedly mean that had it detonated, it would almost certainly have caused death or serious injury within the local resident population as well."

He concluded by saying "My view is that this was absolutely an attempt by violent dissident republicans to kill police officers but it was also very much an anti-community act."

Politicians response 

The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, James Brokenshire spoke about the incident saying that dissident republicans have shown a "wanton disregard for human life, potentially putting children in danger."

Meanwhile, DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds condemned those responsible for planting the bomb. 

He said "Those who constructed and planted this device clearly have no regard for any human life.

"Such a device could have caused devastation and we must all pay tribute to the work of those who have made the scene safe."