Loyalist paramilitaries are being blamed for an explosion outside a builder’s house in west Belfast last night.
A pipe bomb-type device attached to a petrol can was tied to the gatepost of a house at St James Park, off the Falls Road, and detonated at about 8pm, damaging a house and works van.
There were no reports of any injuries.
Police and army bomb experts who were called to the scene at about 7.40pm discovered a second suspicious object in nearby La Salle Park a short time later.
Liam Shannon, who has lived in the targeted La Salle Park property for about 30 years, said he believed loyalists were behind the attack.
“This is the third bomb attack on my house in recent times,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I have no idea why I have been targeted. I thought we had left this sort of thing behind but obviously not.
“I think it’s likely to be loyalists. It was loyalists who have targeted me in the past.”
The two houses which were targeted back on to each other.
Mr Shannon added: “The device was sitting on my wall alongside the driveway.
“I went round to see what happened when the first bomb went off, so I would have walked past it then.
“The whole street would have walked past.
“I didn’t see a thing and then the the police shouted for me to get out of the house.
“I would have preferred not to leave but they said they would not work on it until we were out
of the property. They told me it was a very, very viable device.”
Sinn Fein councillor for Lower Falls, Breige Brownlee, who was at the scene last night, said it was a miracle no-one was seriously hurt.
“It’s a good thing nobody was injured,” she said.
“It is a very quiet residential part of west Belfast and there are always a lot of children playing there. It could quite easily have been even more serious.”
Robert McClenaghan from the Lower Falls Community Association said the explosion was a grim reminder of times past.
“It was powerful enough to have blown a hole in the van,” he said.
“And anyone who heard the blast said they hadn’t heard anything of that calibre in a long, long time. ”
Around 60 families evacuated from their homes took refuge in the West Social Club.