Belfast Telegraph

Children hand in unexploded bomb to police after second device explodes at station

BY STEVEN ALEXANDER

A group of young children handed an unexploded bomb into police after another device was thrown at the station in west Belfast.

Two bombs were thrown at the rear of Woodbourne PSNI station at around 10.30pm last night, although only one exploded.

It's understood children - some as young as nine - from the area around the station found the unexploded second device and carried it to the front of the police station at the west Belfast interface.

"There was a large explosion and the windows shook on the estate," one community worker from the Suffolk Community Interface Project told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The residents went down, and some kids came out and walked to the front of Woodbourne.

"A policeman said that the kids had found a device and brought it to the front. He described it as a blast bomb.

"It would have been on the nationalist side, just off the Suffolk Road."

There were no reports of any injuries or damage.

Chief Superintendent George Clarke, the area's police commander, said the children had been caught up in a reckless attack aimed at killing or maiming his officers.

He said: "Those children may well have picked up the unexploded devices, which are extremely volatile, very, very dangerous, utterly lethal and could function at any time.

"Dissident republicans haven't moved forward and realised the way to advance any argument is political. No-one has come forward to claim this (attack).

A PSNI spokesman confirmed: "One device exploded, and the second, which failed to go off, has now been cordoned off."

An Army bomb disposal team was tasked to the scene.

Police launched a security operation and closed off the Stewartstown Road at its junctions with the Suffolk Road and Blacks Road. Diversions were put in place.

Several homes and businesses in the area remained closed on Tuesday morning.

DUP councillor Brian Kingston described the attack as reckless, and blamed dissident republicans.

"This is a deeply worrying development," he said.

"It was reckless to leave this in a public area, and if children carried this second device clearly lives were placed at huge risk.

"At this stage, it appears to be the actions of dissident republicans who are constantly increasing tension and seeking to cause death or serious injury."

The blast happened close to the spot where a mob of up to 100 youths rampaged through a mainly Protestant area last in July.

Four vehicles were badly damaged and the windows of a property smashed during the attack at Ringford Park in Suffolk.

It was claimed the crowd threw bricks and bottles, with some wielding hurling sticks and hammers.

The youths were said to have been at a house party in nearby Brooke Drive before the incident.

Both the DUP and Sinn Fein claimed it was an attempt to stir up sectarian tensions in the area.

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