28/01/2011

New Bomb Alert In Belfast

There's a fresh bomb alert this afternoon with a road in north Belfast closed after a suspicious object was found.

The alert at the junction of Mountcollyer Avenue and York Road follows a three-day long operation on the nearby Antrim Road that uncovered two bombs - believed to be targeted at PSNI officers.

Police have said about 50 houses on Mountcollyer Avenue and some businesses on York Road have been evacuated.

Army technical officers were at the scene late on Friday afternoon and York Road has been closed from Seaview Street to Brougham Street.

It has also just been revealed that a pipe bomb has been removed by the Army after an alert in Ballyclare, Co Antrim. The device was discovered at a housing development at Rashee Road in the town at about 4am on Friday.

The latest incidents came after a second terrorist bomb was made safe on Belfast's Antrim Road last night.

Police said they were only able to reopen the area on Thursday evening for the remaining people who had been moved from their homes to return - although it is understood some businesses were still affected on Friday morning.

The second device was found behind a scout hall and came after police said on Wednesday that the first bomb - found outside a shop earlier this week - was an "anti-personnel device" designed to kill people.

The PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott said those behind the attacks "had the same recklessness and the same mindset as those that brought about the Omagh tragedy".

"There were hundreds of people who could have been very badly hurt and killed by this device in a busy residential area, where we have children, where we have people going about their normal business," he added.

Also commenting, the Justice Minister David Ford has praised the professionalism of the police operation on the Antrim Road.

The Minister said that the actions of the police and the bomb disposal team over the last three days to protect lives contrasts sharply with those who planted the device, who were intent on causing death and injury.

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