Belfast Telegraph

Video: Police consider releasing CCTV image of dissident republican Belfast city centre bomb suspect

Suspect captured on CCTV on Friday

By John Mulgrew

Police have said they may have captured a CCTV image of a suspect involved in a dissident republican bomb in Belfast city centre at the weekend

A senior officer today said police had obtained an image of a suspect.

But it is understood legal issues - one being the apparent young age of the male photographed - may prevent its release.

Senior officers have also urged members of the public affected to examine pictures and videos taken which may be of use to their investigation.

Officers have spent days trawling through CCTV in order to track down those responsible for the "despicable" blast which caused major disruption on Friday night.

After the small blast in the busy city centre area - on one of the year's busiest nights in the run-up to Christmas - vigilant passers-by who discovered the dissident republican device minutes before it detonated were hailed by police for averting a tragedy.

Speaking to media at Belfast City Hall today, Chief Constable Matt Baggott said there would be a more visible police presence on the streets over the Christmas period.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott (right) and Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr at Belfast City Hall

On Friday, police officers acting on misleading information provided in a telephone bomb warning to a Belfast newspaper, had been evacuating people from a hotel 150 metres away from where a black sports bag containing the bomb had been placed.

Dissident group Oglaigh na hEireann claimed responsibility for the attack.

It's the latest in a recent spate of terror attacks by republicans opposed to the peace process.

Hundreds were evacuated in the dozens of bars, restaurants and hotels due to the alert.

Many of those gathered outside had been out celebrating Christmas with work colleagues.

The weekend is one of the busiest for staff outings in the run-up.

Dozens of those forced to pile out onto the streets had just sat down to food, just as police began evacuating the area.

Joining Matt Baggott today, Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr told gathered media police would soon be releasing an image of the main suspect in the dissident bomb attack.

But so far the PSNI has not released either still images or video of the suspect.

"We think this is certainly one of our suspects in the investigation into Friday evening," he said.

He also asked for the public to check through pictures or videos taken during the course of the busy Friday evening in case the footage could be used to help their enquiries.

"In the coming weeks, PSNI will be continuing with an enhanced policing profile across Northern Ireland to provide safety and reassurance to everyone but we also need your help and support," he said.

"We would ask the public to remain vigilant at all times. If you see any suspicious activity or any suspicious looking objects, please report it to police immediately.

"...There may be some disruption as police do their job and there may also be times when we are required to ask for buildings or areas to be evacuated and to that end, we would call on the public to co-operate fully with us as we will always prioritise public safety."

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