The Real IRA in Derry has said it was behind Wednesday night’s gun attack on PSNI officers in the Glen Road area of the city and warned that more attacks will follow.
In a statement, the group also denied police reports that civilians were in the immediate vicinity when the shots were fired.
A spokesperson for the dissident republican group, using a recognised codeword, claimed its “volunteers” waited until civilians had left the area before opening fire.
“We tried to engage them on two occasions but they were surrounded by civilians, including children, and were forced to pull back. The volunteers then engaged the police officers when they got in the car and their vehicle was hit by six rounds. When they did engage there was no civilians around the target.
“The fact that the volunteers pulled back when they were in a closer position undoubtedly saved the lives of the police officers,” the group stated.
The dissident group claimed the PSNI use civilians as “shields” when responding to call outs. “They deliberately surround themselves with civilians, especially young people, who they use as shields.
“We reiterate our call for people to stay away from the British police and we call on parents to tell their children to stay away from them and not allow themselves to be used as shields,” the spokesperson said.
Rejecting claims by the PSNI that the lives of members of the public were endangered in the attack, the RIRA spokesperson said: “The presence of civilians saved lives on this occasion. More attacks will follow.”