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On Wednesday night shots were fired, by suspected dissident republicans, at police officers in Derry.

The police had been called to check on a car which had been abandoned in a green area off the Glen Road. Having arranged for the stolen car to be towed tow officers were shot at while sitting in the vehicle. No one was hurt.

Superintendent Chris Yates said "I have no doubt this was an attempt to kill a police officer. We are very fortunate that no one was injured tonight.”

SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey said the dissidents were attempting to lure the police into an ambush.

He said there is a sense of utter frustration among the community. “There is sheer frustration when people are trying to do so much to improve the quality of life in this city that people are trying to destroy it,” he said.

Although no group has claimed responsibility for the violence police and political leaders blamed IRA dissidents, who frequently target police officers with gunfire and booby-trap bombs.

In 2005 most IRA members disarmed and renounced violence following Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord.

The police in Derry are appealing for witnesses.