Fears escalate over Belfast street violence after teenager stabbed
A councillor has expressed fears that the stabbing of a 14-year-old boy in north Belfast may be linked to a wave of sectarian violence at interface areas.
The teenager sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries in the attack at Spamount Street on Saturday night.
A 31-year-old man who was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon has been charged with attempted murder and is to appear in court later today.
The incident was reported to police at around 9.45pm while officers were in the area dealing with "youths fighting" on North Queen Street.
Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly described the victim's condition as stable as he expressed relief that no one was killed.
"Knives can and will kill - they have no place on our streets," he warned.
"Anyone with information on this attack should bring it forward to the police."
DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst expressed shock following the incident.
"The fact that someone would take a blade to a young boy is unbelievable and will concern local residents," he said.
Meanwhile, a video has emerged of hammer-wielding youths attacking each other in a residential street.
The footage, which was captured in Victoria Parade, has sparked outrage on social media.
Mr Pankhurst warned that tensions have been escalating for "quite some time" at interface areas.
"There has been plenty of trouble in the New Lodge which climaxed in August and is still an ongoing issue," the Oldpark representative said.
"It is symptomatic of what is happening all over north Belfast.
"There are fractures emerging at our peace lines which these young people seem to circle on a loop looking for trouble.
"You only have to hear the language being used to know that the violence is sectarian in nature."
SDLP councillor Paul McCusker said there is "no place for these savage thugs" on our streets and warned there is "no excuse" for carrying a knife.
"My thoughts are with the young man in hospital - I hope he makes a full and quick recovery."
Police have appealed for anyone with information about the disorder in the area or the stabbing incident to contact them.