DISSIDENT republicans planned to kill two police officers by leaving a bomb behind the front door of a house while they investigated reports of shots being fired in north Belfast this week.
As officers approached the house in the Ardoyne district and walked to the front door, a deadly device was waiting to be detonated.
If it had gone off, both officers would have killed or grievously injured.
The PSNI believe terror group Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) was behind the deadly plot to kill the two uniform police officers.
The Police Federation also said the device was a deliberate plot to kill the officers.
“There was a booby-trap bomb behind the front door. If it had gone off, it would have killed both officers,” said the Federation.
PSNI chiefs say the discovery of the viable device in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast was “a blatant attempt” to kill or seriously injure police officers.
Police were in Alliance Avenue on Tuesday afternoon when the device was found.
They were conducting follow up inquiries after receiving reports of shots heard in the area the previous day.
A number of holes were found in a window of a property and a suspicious object was found inside, sparking the security operation.
Around 30 homes were evacuated while army bomb experts carried out a controlled explosion.
North Belfast Area Commander, Chief Inspector Andy Freeburn, said: “Those who carried out this heinous act have shown callous disregard for the safety of the community and the police officers serving this community.
“We are very fortunate this evening that no-one was killed or seriously injured as this occurred in a residential area putting the lives of those living here at serious risk.
“This was a blatant attempt to kill or seriously injure officers who were following up inquiries received into reports of shots being heard in the area.”
Alliance Avenue was reopened to traffic shortly before midnight.
The PSNI are appealing for anyone who saw any suspect activity – or suspicious vehicles – in the area or who has any information to come forward.
It is the second murder bid on police in north Belfast in recent months.
A mother and daughter were later arrested in connection with the blast bomb attack on officers who were lured into the area following a bogus 999 call.