Belfast Telegraph

'Belfast pipe-bomb was designed to kill'

By Lesley-Anne McKeown and Megan Kelly Maguire

Police believe a pipe-bomb discovered near a primary school had been thrown at officers overnight.

The PSNI has blamed dissident republicans for the device, which it said had the capacity to kill or seriously injure.

Dozens of homes were evacuated and St Teresa's Primary School was closed after the pipe-bomb was found on the Glen Road in west Belfast in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Army bomb experts were called to the scene to examine the device which was discovered by police and fire crews attending a blaze at a local Spar shop just before 3am.

The cause of the fire is not known yet but police are investigating whether the two incidents are linked. One line of inquiry is that the fire was started to lure officers into the area.

PSNI district commander, Chief Superintendent Mark Hamilton, said: "The device has been taken away for further examination but we can confirm that it was a viable pipe-bomb which had the capacity to kill or maim. It is perhaps particularly chilling given the fact that there is a primary school close to the scene.

"This is a residential area and we could have been looking at serious tragedy here. There is absolutely no doubt that this device was intended to murder and we would ask anyone with any information in relation to this incident to come forward and tell us what they know."

An area from Kennedy Way to Cloonasilla Drive was sealed off for much of yesterday. Care workers were unable to reach elderly clients and the principal of St Teresa's Primary was also unable to reach the school.

Head Catherine Molloy said the alert caused "huge disruption" for pupils. "I got word at about 7.30am," she said. "The children obviously are missing a day of their education, so it's hugely disruptive."

Tim Attwood, chairman of the West Belfast District Policing Partnership, said the perpetrators were cowardly.

"This is a serious incident," he said. "I saw first-hand the level of disruption - a business destroyed, a primary school closed, other local schools affected and huge traffic congestion."

Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey described the attack as "reckless", adding: "The stark reality is that anyone, including children, could have found this device."

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