The homes of former Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and senior party member Bobby Storey were attacked last night.
Sinn Féin said two explosive devices were thrown at the men’s homes in west Belfast.
Mr Adams’ grandchildren are believed to have been in the driveway minutes before the attack. Mr Adams said no-one was injured.
PSNI officers have this morning removed the remnants of the explosive devices.
Officers said they were large industrial firework-type devices, capable of causing serious damage or injury.
This morning, Mr Adams made this appeal to those responsible.
"If they have the gumption to sneak up on our homes, I would like them or their representatives to come and meet me," he said.
"I would like them to sit down and explain to me what this is about.
"I would like those that are involved in exploiting children in Derry to do the same."
Sinn Féin has condemned the attacks as “reprehensible and cowardly.”
All well here. No one hurt. Thanks 4 all the texts & phone calls. Thanks 2 all the great neighbours, the Neighbourhood Watch & Sinn Féin reps who were here very quickly.
— Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) July 14, 2018
Police at the scene of an explosive device attack on the west Belfast home of former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, 14-07-2018. Image: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images
This morning, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tweeted: “I unequivocally condemn the violence in Derry and Belfast last night.”
“We will not allow a small minority intent on violence to drag Northern Ireland back to the past.
“We stand with the decent law-abiding people from all communities in the North.”
I unequivocally condemn the violence in Derry and Belfast last night. We will not allow a small minority intent on violence to drag Northern Ireland back to the past. We stand with the decent law-abiding people from all communities in the North.
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) July 14, 2018
Sinn Féin policing and justice spokesperson Gerry Kelly said one of the devices caused significant damage to a car outside Mr Adams’ home.
“These were reprehensible and cowardly attacks on the family homes of Gerry Adams and Bobby Storey,” he said.
“Grandchildren were in the driveway of Adams' home minutes before the attack.
“I would appeal for calm. These attacks are the desperate acts of increasingly desperate and irrelevant groups."
.@MaryLouMcDonald standing with the people of Derry against attacks on the community. The message from the Bogside is clear, dissidents and their sick approach will not break this strong community pic.twitter.com/Zbv0F3NFIB
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) July 13, 2018
It is thought the incidents may be linked to a week of violence in Derry.
Police in Derry have faced improvised explosives and petrol bombs as tensions increased over the past seven nights.
A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on Thursday night – as police fired four rounds of plastic bullets and arrested two other men.
Some 74 petrol bombs were thrown after violence broke out in the Bogside area of the city.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and deputy leader Michelle O’Neill attended a rally in the Bogside yesterday calling for an end to the violence.
The Bishop of Derry told those in attendance the city would not be drawn back into years of suffering and loss.
The area remained quiet on Friday evening, with no signs of fresh disorder by 11pm.
Great to have @MaryLouMcDonald and @moneillsf in City today supporting us and calling for an end to the violence in the Bogside. Meetings held with activists, community sector, residents and attended rally tonight #NotInOurName .@sinnfeinireland pic.twitter.com/bQJA0AMnR3
— Karen Mullan (@k_mullan) July 13, 2018
It is believed the increase in tensions may be linked to renegade dissident republicans that opposed the Good Friday Agreement and the path taken by Mr Adams and the late Martin McGuinness in the 1990’s.
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton says dissident republicans are to blame:
“The new IRA – the so-called new IRA – is probably the primary grouping behind this disorder and behind these threats to police and these murderous attacks on police,” he said.
He said the groups "will use whatever excuse they can to bring about unrest and to have young people involve themselves in violence against the police."
"If this continues, it's only a matter of time before a police officer or a child or young person involved in this violence gets very seriously injured or worse," he said.
It is understood some of those involved in the violence are not even in their teenage years.