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Real IRA claims pipe-bomb attack on police station

Dissident republicans have claimed responsibility for a pipe- bomb attack on a police station.

About 40 families had to be moved from their homes in north Belfast after a small explosion outside Oldpark PSNI station in the early hours of yesterday.

Damage was caused to the perimeter fence, but there were no reports of any injuries. Army Technical Officers spent much of yesterday examining the scene.

In a telephone call to the Belfast Telegraph newsdesk a spokesman for the “Real IRA Belfast brigade” said the organisation had carried out the attack.

The spokesman, who gave a codeword, read a statement. He said: “An explosive device was thrown at a PSNI barracks by the Belfast brigade of the Real IRA.

“In October an improvised explosive device was thrown by the RIRA in Belfast into a TA barracks and in September a local contractor was also targeted for working with the Brits.”

Chief Superintendent Mark Purdon condemned the attack and said people do “not want to be pulled back into a past they want to leave behind”.

“Apart from the obvious dangers posed by a pipe-bomb type device, it also seriously disrupts and inconveniences the lives of local residents,” he said.

“Old people and young children have had to leave their homes because of this attack, which is absolutely unacceptable.”

He appealed for help from the community to catch those behind the attack.

Residents were allowed back into their homes at about 3.30pm.

DUP MP for North Belfast Nigel Dodds said the attack illustrated that there was a “ruthless and fanatical dissident republican element” operating in the immediate area.

Alliance councillor Billy Webb described the attack as “sinister”.

Dissident republicans were also blamed for a similar attack in north Belfast in October when a small bomb was thrown into a Territorial Army base in Ashfield Crescent.

Earlier this week the outside wall at Crossmaglen PSNI station in south Armagh was riddled with bullets.

And last month dissident republicans were blamed for two separate gun attacks on the police station in Bessbrook.

SDLP MLA Alban Maginness, said he believed this latest incident “part and parcel of a dissident republican campaign to exacerbate tension in the community and to destabilise the political situation even further”.

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