18/11/2013

Weekend Bomb Attacks Condemned

A spate of bomb attacks over the weekend has been condemned by the First and deputy First Minister and parties across the political spectrum.

A police patrol was attacked with a pipe bomb in County Tyrone on Saturday.

A security alert began in the Ballycolman estate, Strabane, at about 20:25, following news that something had been thrown at police.

A member of the public lifted the pipe bomb and moved it to waste ground at the old Adria factory site.

The Army bomb squad was called in and a controlled explosion was carried out. It was confirmed as a viable pipe bomb. The alert then ended at 03:00 on Sunday morning.

In east Belfast, the offices of the Alliance Party were attacked with two petrol bombs. The bombs were thrown at the building on the Upper Newtownards Road at about 22:45 on Saturday.

One ignited on the street and was put out by a passing police patrol. The other did not ignite.

Reports said a man wearing a red hooded top was seen running off in the direction of Finvoy Street.

The Alliance Party has been criticised by many loyalists after it voted in favour of a motion to restrict the flying of the union flag on top of Belfast City Hall in December last year.

Party offices across Northern Ireland have suffered similar attacks since the vote.

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness said: "We utterly condemn the recent petrol bomb and pipe bomb attacks. These senseless attacks by a minority of our society have once again shown a total disregard for police officers and our local community. The targeting of police officers and an elected representative's office strikes at the very heart of democracy and those responsible must stop immediately.

"These people are intent on bringing fear and disruption to our community. They have nothing to offer our society and will do nothing to deter us from working together across all political parties to achieve a shared future and a united community.

"We urge anyone with any information on any such attacks to give it to the police to ensure these mindless individuals are brought to justice."

Commenting on the attack at the Alliance offices, East Belfast MP Naomi Long said: "This is not an attack on an individual party or office, it is an attack on democracy. There can be no justification for this and there is no place for this kind of violence on our streets."

Alliance East Belfast MLA Chris Lyttle added: "This attack will not deter us from delivering for constituents and businesses in East Belfast. Elected politicians should be able to work on behalf of their constituents without the fear of violence or intimidation."

(IT/CD)

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