Belfast Telegraph

Season of ill-will as dissidents sowed chaos

By Chris Kilpatrick

November 24: A dissident republican car bomb attack was launched in Belfast city centre. The device partially exploded inside a hijacked car at Victoria Square car park.

A masked gang had placed a bomb on board and ordered the driver to take it to the shopping centre. It exploded as Army bomb officers prepared to examine the vehicle. No one was injured. The bomb contained 60kgs (132lbs) of home-made explosives.

December 5: Two police vehicles are struck by automatic gunfire from assault rifles while travelling along the Crumlin Road in north Belfast.

A Kalashnikov-type weapon was recovered.

The gun attack happened close to the loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue.

The following night, two shots hit a PSNI Land Rover on patrol on the Suffolk Road between the Stewartstown and Glen roads in west Belfast.

December 13: A cyclist carried a bomb into Belfast's Cathedral Quarter in a holdall on his handlebars. The small device detonated (left) as police were clearing the area. No one was injured, but it caused severe disruption on a busy Friday night.

A pressure cooker was used as part of the device. Dissident republican group, Óglaigh na hÉireann, said it was responsible. About 1,000 people were affected by the alert.

December 16: A Belfast shop worker carried a suspected fire bomb from a store after it ignited. The incendiary device was brought into a sports shop in Cornmarket. The area was busy with shoppers but was sealed off while Army experts examine the device. The alert happened at the Golf Store, in a pedestrianised zone lined by shops and department stores.

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