UPDATED: YOUNG children picked an exploded bomb which was thrown by dissident republicans at a west Belfast police station.
As Belfast Daily revealed earlier this morning, two ‘blast bombs’ was were thrown at the rear of Woodbourne PSNI station on Monday night.
At first it was believed the children picked up the remnants of the exploded bomb.
Now police that they in fact picked up the unexploded ‘blast bomb’ type device.
The first attack was carried out around 10.3o pm which exploded near the perimeter wall of the station.
The second was thrown half an hour later but failed to explode.
Fortunately there were no injuries but local people are furious at the recklessness of the attack.
One told Belfast Daily: “This was complete madness.
“Whoever did this needs the keys thrown away on them for the rest of their lives.
“Kids should not be put in any kind of danger. It should not have happened full stop.
“When a young person is put in harm way as well as the public. A lot of elderly people livein the area. Anyone could have been killed.”
In 1999, the Continuity IRA launched a gun attack on the same station.
Terror bosses Tommy Crossan and Carl Reilly were later convicted and jailed over the attack.
Reilly is now a senior figure in Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) which is now a prime suspect for Monday night’s double blast bomb attack.
Following last night’s bomb attack, senior police bosses lice said children picked up the remains of the device which exploded and brought it to the front of the station.
During a following up search, officers found the unexploded bomb.
Army Technical Officers were tasked to the scene and made safe the unexploded device.
North and West Belfast PSNI commander Chief Superintendent George Clarke said the attack was an attempt to kill and maim police officers.
“In doing so they were absolutely reckless as to the consequences for local people and as to the consequences for those children,” he said.
“I don’t think we should draw any comfort from the fact that those children appear to have brought the remnants of a device to the police station.
“I would still be very concerned that those children may well have picked up the unexploded device.
“These are not commercially manufactured, stable items, these are extremely volatile, very, very dangerous, utterly lethal devices which could function (explode) at any time.”
Ch Supt Clarke said he believed dissident republicans were responsible and said they were people who had not moved forward and had not listened to the condemnation of all sides of the community.
“I can’t see the logic in throwing bombs at the back of a police station and leaving an unexploded one for children to pick up,” he said.
Councillor Brian Kingston said a number of people were moved from their homes in Lenadoon and the Suffolk estate due to the incident.
He said it had all the hallmarks of a dissident republican attack and was a “cowardly attempt to kill police officers”.
“I travelled up late last night to the area, I spoke to local people, the most disturbing aspect of this apart from the attempt to murder police officers was that children were caught up in this incident,” he added.
“The device which exploded went off at about 10.30pm, and I spoke to people in Suffolk estate who witnessed what subsequently happened.
“Around 20 to 30 minutes later, as they were standing at Ringford looking across, they saw a group of young children aged around nine, 10, 11, come round the side of the police station carrying an object.
“They went up to the sangar at the front of Woodbourne police station where a security officer spoke to them.
“A police officer then came out the main gate and spoke to them.
“They placed an object on the ground and they scarpered along Stewartstown Road and up Suffolk Road.
“So this is a combination of childhood innocence and a deadly terrorist attempt to maim and kill.”
He said the explosion was heard as far away as Lisburn.