Device found in Belfast alleyway is defused
Army bomb experts have made safe a viable pipe bomb discovered in a loyalist area of Belfast.
The device was found in a heap of rubbish in an alleyway between Mountcollyer Avenue and the Limestone Road in the north of the city around 9.30am yesterday morning. The area around York Road was cordoned off, with residents from Mountcollyer Avenue evacuated from their homes until mid-afternoon.
The alleyway, which is a well-used thoroughfare, runs behind a number of businesses, including the offices of the Community Transition Initiative (CTI). It was the former Prisoners’ Aid office. The security alert was also near a well-known loyalist pub, The Alexandra Bar on York Road.
A PSNI spokeswoman said it was “probably a coincidence” the device was found behind the office but that “all lines of inquiry will be investigated”.
The device was discovered the morning after two pipe bombs were left near a house in west Belfast — one of which exploded.
However, the police spokeswoman said a tit-for-tat attack was not a major line of inquiry.
“The investigation is in its early stages,” she said. “We are not sure who was involved in either incident.”
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds described the incident as “deeply worrying”.
“The placing or storing of pipe bombs in a residential and commercial area shows total disregard for the safety of the public,” he said.
The Rev Robert Beckett, from the nearby Crosscollyer Evangelical Presbyterian Church, opened its premises for residents during the security operation.
“A quarter of deaths during the Troubles occurred within a mile of here but Mountcollyer has been very quiet for a long time,” he said.