Belfast Telegraph

Arrest over dissident republican Belfast city centre Christmas bomb blast

By John Mulgrew

A 41-year-old man has been arrested in connection with dissident republican bomb blast in Belfast city centre last Christmas.

The suspect was arrested in north Belfast this morning and is being held for questioning.

The blast happened close to a restaurant in the busy St Anne's Square area on Friday, December 13.

A pressure cooker was used as part of the device which exploded as Belfast's Cathedral Quarter was packed with pre-Christmas revellers.

The bomb was found in a black holdall bag.

Following the attack, which was blamed on dissident republicans, the PSNI released two security camera images of the suspected bomber.

A warning had been given but the device was left at a different location from that named in a call to a newspaper.

Police were clearing crowds from several premises when it exploded, disrupting around 1,000 people's night out.

Vigilant passers-by who discovered the dissident republican device minutes before it detonated in the packed district On Friday were hailed by the PSNI for averting a tragedy.

Once informed about the holdall by members of the public, they were able to refocus the security operation on the area immediately around it.

The bomb warning was telephoned to the Irish News at 6pm, the report of the bag was received at 6.20pm and the bomb exploded at 6.44pm. No one was injured, with 1,000 people having been evacuated from the area.

Dissident group Oglaigh na hEireann claimed responsibility for the attack.


Further reading

Man sought over pre-Christmas blast

Belfast's Potted Hen restaurant 'will stay open' despite facing winding up order  

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