05/07/2011

Helicopter 'Top Cover' As Bomb Defused

Suburban Glengormley returned to normal yesterday evening after the Army dealt with a pipe bomb in Harmin Park.

The PSNI helicopter was overhead of the Newtownabbey district - close to north Belfast - for most of Monday afternoon and some residents were asked to leave their homes, while the examination was carried out.

Police later said residents had been allowed to return to their properties and Harmin Park has re-opened to traffic.

Police attended the scene of the security alert after a telephone warning claimed a blast bomb had been abandoned at a house in the area.

Army bomb experts examined a suspicious object and declared it a "viable pipe bomb-type device".

The police air cover usually signifies the use of heat detection equipment or other sophisticated electronics to search for booby-trap devices that might have been left in attempts to kill or wound police officers attending the scene of such security alerts.

The Mayor of Newtownabbey Cllr Billy Webb has condemned the incident: "Those who wish to cause fear and disruption are beyond contempt. People in the area were very shocked at the discovery of this pipe bomb.

"The level of disruption caused by such devices is disgraceful and incidents like this have no place in our society. I would appeal to anyone with information on this matter to contact police immediately," he said.

In an unrelated incident at the weekend, a similar device was found in the border city of Newry.

The SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Dominic Bradley condemned those responsible for exploding a pipe bomb in the Pound Street area of Newry at the weekend.

"It is difficult for ordinary people to figure out the sort of mentality needed to push a pipe bomb through the letter box of a house in the dead of night, but clearly those responsible had at least contemplated the possibility of murder.

"We don't want the likes of them in our community and the only way we can be safe from them is to work with the police to put them out of business, whatever their motive," the nationalist politician commented.

There have been a number of such incidents where improvised explosives packed into a narrow pipe have been left.

They are small and often crudely made up, but still pose a significant risk of serious injury of death - especially if disturbed by children.

For example, in April, a suspicious object was discovered in the Fairview Parade area of Newtownabbey, a suburban area of Co Antrim to the north of Belfast.

A small number of houses were evacuated in Glengormley's Fairview Parade and Fairview Avenue as Army bomb experts attended the scene.

Earlier, on the same day, three viable pipe bombs were dealt with by Army experts in Antrim town, following a spate of security alerts in the area on Friday.

Army Technical Officers examined the items, which were found at a house in Donegore Drive. The pipe bombs were removed for further testing.

See: Bomb Alert Follows NI Pipe Bomb Find

(BMcC/GK)

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