DETECTIVES have arrested a man in England over the attempted murder of two police officers by dissident republicans in north Belfast earlier this week.
The 25-year-old man was arrested by detectives from West Mercia Police at the request of the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch.
Officers swooped on an address at Meole Brace, Shrewsbury, early on Saturday morning.
The suspect was handed over to the PSNI and he has been brought back to Northern Ireland.
He is currently being questioned at the serious crime suite in Antrim about the attempted murder of two PSNI officers.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, two pipe bombs were thrown at the PSNI officers after they responded to an emergency 999 call in the loyalist Ballysillan early.
They were attacked as they got out of their vehicle.
Both cheated death and injury but were left shook up after the attack.
A 27-year-old woman who was arrested in north Belfast on Wednesday is still in custody. Police have been granted an extension by a judge to question her.
PSNI north Belfast area comander Chief Inspector Andy Freeburn said police were treating the attack as attempted murder.
“This was a blatant attempt to murder our police officers who were out protecting the community,” said Chief Inspector Freeburn.
“It is just sheer good fortune that they were not killed or seriously injured.
“The people who carried out this attack showed a total disregard for the people within this community,” he said.
This is the second pipe bomb attack on a police patrol in Belfast in less than a fortnight.
A similar device was found after shots were fired at three police officers in the Foxes Glen area of Twinbrook earlier this month.
Following the Foxes Glen attack, Belfast Daily revealed on May 18 that intelligence in the hands of police bosses warned that ONH was planning to step up its gun and bomb campaign on the security forces in the coming weeks.
Officers reporting for duty after the Foxes Glen murder bid were alerted to the threat to their lives both on and off duty following fresh information gleaned by the PSNI’s C3 Intelligence Branch.
They were told the attacks could include:
* undercar booby trap devices planted under their cars at home addresses:
* pipe bomb devices thrown at police vehicles;
* bogus call outs for a potential gun ambush.
A security source told Belfast Daily: “All police are now on heightened alert, particularly in the Greater Belfast area.
“They have been told to step up their personal security around their homes.
“They have also been told to be on the alert further gun attacks when answering ‘shouts’ about burglaries, car thefts etc.
“These are dangerous times and all officers are having to step up their guard for further attacks in the coming weeks.”