Belfast Telegraph

Bomb that fell from under soldier's car was kicked up the street by young boy

By Chris McCullough

A booby-trap bomb discovered on a north Belfast street may have fallen off a car belonging to a member of the armed forces.

The device was discovered on Thursday by a young boy who kicked it up Linden Gardens, just off the Cliftonville Road, unaware what it was.

Residents of Linden Gardens and adjoining Brookvale Street were left shaken when they were forced to evacuate their homes.

It is believed the bomb may have fallen off a vehicle belonging to a member of the military driving through the area.

Army ammunition technical officers (ATOs) carried out a controlled explosion on the device and took the remnants away for forensic examination.

The incident happened at the back of Cliftonville Integrated Primary School, where police officers conducted a search yesterday morning, combing the area for any clues.

Brookvale Street resident Kevin Fegan said the incident had "knocked the heart out of him".

"I went to pick my wee grandkids up on Thursday afternoon at around 1.30pm," the 69-year-old said.

"When I came back the police would not let me up the street and it was all cordoned off. I had to go and stay with my son in Glengormley, and got back into my house on Friday morning around 10.30am.

"Some of the other residents, whose properties are closer to where the device was found, have been out longer. I am very glad to be back home, but this incident has knocked the heart out of me.

"There are a lot of kids playing in this area as well as schools nearby. Who knows what could have happened?"

A woman in a nearby shop said she thought the boy had kicked the device on the pavement.

"It's a terrible situation, anything could have happened," she said. "The wee boy is lucky to be alive. We do not want this kind of thing around here. Whoever is responsible for this should be utterly ashamed of themselves."

Police said the device was "designed to kill or maim".

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly condemned those responsible.

Mr Kelly said: "This incident has caused widespread disruption and distress to local residents and the surrounding community and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

"This seems to have been a clear attempt to kill and could so easily have subsequently killed or injured local residents in this quiet street.

"There is no place for such armed actions in this society and those responsible must be held to account.

"I would appeal to anyone with information about this incident to come forward to the PSNI.

"I would like to thank everyone in the surrounding area that helped residents forced from their homes by this device during this lengthy disruption; it is a demonstration of neighbourliness and in stark contrast to the actions of those who planted this device.

"Not only could this have been a fatality we're dealing with today of whoever the target happened to be, but I understand a young boy kicked it on the way up the street - we could have been dealing with a child being killed here.

"I condemn it absolutely. Not only is there no support, but there is absolute opposition to whoever is doing this."

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Campbell said: "Detectives from PSNI's Serious Crime Branch are investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of a viable explosive-type device.

"At this stage police believe that this could have been an under-car booby-trap which was designed to kill or maim. ATO carried out a controlled explosion and the device has been taken away for further forensic examination.

"Those responsible have no qualms about putting people's lives at risk and causing disruption to the community. There is no doubt that this device had the potential to cause serious injury or death."

He appealed for anyone with information to contact police on 101, or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

Meanwhile, Police in Armagh were last night investigating a suspicious object discovered at Elm Park Road in Killylea.

The road was closed in both directions after the object was reported at around 6pm.

Belfast Telegraph


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