A PSNI OFFICER narrowly cheated death in a dissident pipe bomb attack in west Belfast last night.
The pipe bomb was thrown at one of two PSNI vehicles. One officer said it passed inches from his face.
It fell to the ground and the fuse burned out. It did not explode.
A male and female officer were in the vehicle targeted. No-one was injured.
But PSNI Superintendent Philip Knox said the pipe bomb was viable and could have caused injury or death.
He said police thought they were responding to a genuine call for help, but instead they were being lured into a trap.
“We consider ourselves extremely fortunate today that we are not dealing with a much more serious incident and that all of the responding officers were able to walk away from that situation unharmed,” he said.
“This is the second time in just over four months that our officers have been targeted in this way and I would appeal to the community to help us identify the persons responsible for this attack.”
More than 20 homes had to be evacuated while army bomb experts made the device safe.
Police want to talk to a man who is about 5ft 10in tall, of slim build, who was wearing a dark hoody and dark baggy tracksuit bottoms.