03/08/2012

Homes Emptied On Glen Road As Police Search For Bomb

About 100 homes and businesses on the Glen Road in west Belfast have been evacuated as police search for an unexploded bomb.

Residents have been told they could be out of their homes for several days.

The operation began after PSNI officers reported being shot at in the area around the bus station on Glen Road in the early hours of Friday morning.

A minor dent on the land rover was the only evidence of the attack and previous searches have failed to find anything suspicious in the area.

But a senior policewoman has said there is a real risk of a device being there.

Ch Insp Emma Bond, the area commander for west Belfast, said: "Our concern is that there is an unexploded device in the vicinity of the Glen Road, hence the searches that have been carried out and the slow process that has been taken in order to try to minimise that risk to members of public.

"As a result of the reckless actions of those people on Friday morning my officers, but more importantly the local community of west Belfast, have been put at significant risk and the purpose is to try and ensure we eliminate that risk and protect the local community."

Residents who are unable to stay with family and friends can use the Glen Community Centre in Carrigart Avenue to rest.

Up to 40 businesses have been evacuated for searches, including the Belfast Media Group.

Managing director Mairtin O Muilleoir said: "We have 50 people up there trying to provide a community service and we're sticking at it.

"We're not going to let whoever this group is close us down."

Sinn Fein MP for the area Alex Maskey pinned the blame on a small group called Oglaigh na hEireann.

He called on them to issue a statement with full details of the explosion threat.

(NE)

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