Belfast Telegraph

British Army major cheats death after bomb drops off his car

By Victoria O'Hara

A bid to murder an Army major as he left his home in Bangor, Co Down, will leave people living “in any quiet street” across Northern Ireland feeling vulnerable to attacks, it has been claimed.

Shocked neighbours of the soldier targeted in yesterday’s attack voiced the fears after a primed booby trap device was planted under his car in the Chatsworth cul-de-sac.

Police said the man — believed to be on his way to work at the time of the attack — was “lucky to be alive” after the device failed to detonate.

A massive security alert was launched at around 7.50am yesterday when the bomb was found in the driveway — believed to have fallen off the vehicle.

Up to 30 houses were evacuated while the Army carried out a controlled explosion.

Chief Superintendent Nigel Grimshaw said “the results could have been catastrophic” if the bomb had gone off. He added the attack “bore all the hallmarks of dissident republicans”.

“Clearly, when somebody places any device in that sort of situation, it’s only designed for one purpose and that’s to kill or seriously injure,” Mr Grimshaw said.

“This is a quiet residential area of Bangor, it only has one means of access, one main road into it.

“It does bear the hallmarks of dissident republican-type attacks.”

He added that the attack has to be condemned.

“Somebody is getting up to do their day’s work but these people have callously put families at risk, individuals at risk of death or serious injury.

“This attack must be condemned and people must work with police to make sure that we prevent these things from happening in the future.”

Residents were forced to leave their homes for hours as the operation continued throughout the day. Electricity supplies to some houses were also cut off as police examined the area.

Curtis Hunter (18) said they were “stunned” when police knocked on their door and told them they had to evacuate the house and street.

“I think this will make any person living in a quiet street feel vulnerable after this,” he said.

“When we found out why we had to leave our homes, we couldn’t believe it.

“We were all standing in the street, some of us were in our pyjamas. It does make you feel more vulnerable.

“I think this will make so many people feel you can’t be safe anywhere right across Northern Ireland.”

DUP MLA Peter Weir condemned those responsible for the attack.

“This is a quiet cul-de-sac, I think something like this is designed to show that everywhere |is vulnerable to dissident attacks,” he said.

The attack came a day after a car bomb exploded outside a police station in Londonderry.

PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott has said the threat level in Northern Ireland is “severe”.

SDLP justice spokesperson Alban Maginness said the attack suggested a high level of intelligence information in the hands of those responsible.

Mr Maginness said: “There should be a full statement from the PSNI indicating who is responsible for this attack that informs on the nature and capacity of the explosive device, on how sophisticated it was.”

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