Belfast Telegraph

Homes evacuated in security alert

by Bob Malcolm

A security alert was underway yesterday afternoon after PSNI received a warning that a suspicious object had been left in the Oldpark area.

Up to 200 people were being evacuated from their homes around tea-time last night.

Community workers and groups were preparing for another night of unrest in the locality after coming to terms with an incident on Monday in which a man opened fire in nearby Ardilea Street.

Police have said facilities were provided for residents at Ardoyne Community Centre, with the assistance of community groups and partner agencies including Belfast Resilience Forum.

A police spokesman said of the incident involving the suspect object: “A security operation is underway in the Oldpark area of North Belfast following a claim that a suspicious object has been abandoned in the area.

“We are mindful of the disruption the alert is causing to local people and commuters. We would thank people for their continued patience and support.

“Police must protect the community and every decision we take is for the welfare of the community — however the disruption is caused by those who make these claims and cause such distress in our community.

“Nothing suspicious has been found at this stage, however enquiries are ongoing.

“We would again remind the public to report any suspicious activity and not to touch any unusual items.”

Sinn Fein's Gerry McCabe said the Ardilea Street shooting was “reckless stupidity”.

The Ardoyne candidate said: “There seems no obvious explanation of why a man with a gun discharged up to six shots in Ardilea Street last night.

“As I arrived on the scene residents voiced their anger at this reckless stupidity given the street had children playing football as a group of local pigeon fanciers stood watching.

“The man casually walked away after reportedly saying ‘that's that sorted'.

“It's extremely worrying that someone has a gun in the heart of the district and is firing shots randomly.

“Thankfully nobody was injured,” added Mr McCabe.

A police spokesperson said: “Police are investigating an incident in north Belfast.

“Reports have been received that shots were heard being fired late last night in the Glenview Street area.

“A number of casings have been found at this location, however no damage or injuries have been established at this stage.”

The DUP’s north Belfast candidate, Nigel Dodds, said: “While no injuries have been reported in this incident, I note that bullet casings have been found at the scene.

“This fits into a pattern of intimidation and attacks involving the use of guns and pipe-bombs by so-called dissident republicans in North Belfast.”

Belfast Telegraph


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