30/07/2003

Early morning security alerts hit Belfast

The security alerts which caused traffic havoc in and around Belfast this morning have now ended, police have confirmed.

Dissident republicans are believed to have been behind today's nine alerts

which left a number of roads sealed off in Belfast and Dunmurry.

Nine bomb warnings, as well as two hijackings which started the alerts, began at 8am on the main Lisburn to Dunmurry road when a bus was hijacked and abandoned a short time later with a suspect package on board. It was later declared a hoax.

Shortly afterwards, alerts took place in Annadale embankment in south Belfast, Queens Bridge and Shaw's Bridge and outside Grosvenor Road police station in west Belfast.

SDLP councillor, Patricia Lewsley condemned the people behind the incidents describing their acts as "deplorable".

She said: "These people are out to cause as much disruption and inconvenience as possible. It is difficult to understand what they hope to achieve by such actions."

(MB)

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