POLICE officers have narrowly escaped injury in when a “military style hand grenade” was thrown at police in east Belfast.
The murder bid happened in the Short Strand area on Friday night.
Officers had been responding to reports from local residents of anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of the Short Strand when the grenade was thrown at around 10.15 pm near Pottingers Quay.
The device landed at the feet of police officers.
Army Technical Officers who examined the device this morning said it was a “military style hand grenade”.
The device did not detonate and no injuries were reported.
The PSNI’s ‘India 99’ helicopter was launched to support police units on the ground in follow up inquiries.
A security source told Belfast Daily: “We are in a very dangerous situation at the moment.
“Dissident republicans are highly active in Belfast and their intention is to either murder or maim a police officer.”
Local police chief Supt Bobby Singleton condemned those behind the attack.
He said: “Those who carried out this attack showed a total disregard for the safety of the local community and worryingly, for the second time in as many days, young people who were in the vicinity at the time of the attack.”
Earlier, PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton described the Short Strand attack as an “act of madness”.
Mr Hamilton wrote on his Twitter feed that it “could have killed or injured police or local residents”.
Several homes were evacuated on Friday night while Army bomb officers examined the unexploded grenade.
Friday night’s attack comes on the back of an under car booby trap bomb found off the Cliftonville Road in north Belfast on Wednesday afternoon.
Following a controlled explosion, the UCBT was made safe.
There is now a heightened alert across Belfast for PSNI officers on patrol.