POLICE have begun a cross-border investigation after a bomb was left under the car of an off-duty officer at a Belfast golf club, with many suspecting it to have been an assassination attempt by the so-called reborn ‘IRA’.
One of the vehicles police believe was used in the murder bid was registered in the Republic of Ireland.
The device was hidden under the car at Shandon Park Golf Club in east Belfast.
Police said that the main line of inquiry was “violent dissident republicans”.
On Saturday night, police examined CCTV footage and searched the car park of the club, which is located close to the PSNI headquarters on the Knock Road.
Speaking on Sunday, Det Supt Sean Wright said the investigation centres on two cars, one of which was a Green Skoda Octavia with a Dublin registration, 01 D 78089.
“The other car is a Silver Saab with the registration NFZ 3216,” he said.
Det Supt Wright appealed to the public for footage of the area around the golf club between 19:00 BST on Friday and 07:00 BST on Saturday.
“If you were a pedestrian, a driver of a car, do you have dashcam footage? If you live in that area, do you have CCTV? We want to see it,” he said.
He said that the device was “designed to kill” and that it was “sufficiently sophisticated that had it exploded the likely outcome would have been murder”.
“The device was capable of functioning,” he added. “We are extremely fortunate it did not go off.”
He added that it was not just the off-duty officer who was put in danger on Saturday, but the many others attending the club and living in the surrounding area.
Assistant Chief Constable George Clarke said the officer whose car was targeted was “obviously shaken” by the experience.
“We will do our very best to support him, to ensure that he is helped through what will be a very difficult and traumatic time in the days to come,” he added.