Northern Ireland

Belfast bomb may have fallen from car 'connected to armed forces'

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Media captionA forensics officer examines the scene on Friday

Police believe that a bomb found in north Belfast may have fallen from a car belonging to a man with connections to the armed forces.

The device was discovered at Linden Gardens, off the Cliftonville Road, early on Thursday afternoon.

It is not clear if the intended target was passing through the area or visiting someone in the area.

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly blamed dissident republicans.

The North Belfast assemblyman said a young boy kicked the bomb and that it "had obviously fallen off a car" onto the street.

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Image caption Gerry Kelly said a young boy kicked the bomb as it lay on the street

Police said locals have also reported to them that the young boy kicked the device.

Army bomb experts carried out a controlled explosion on the device and it has been removed.

Target

Det Ch Insp Richard Campbell said: "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."

Residents returned to their homes late on Thursday, but a security presence remained in the area overnight and into Friday.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Army bomb experts carried out a controlled explosion on the device

Mr Kelly said: "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."

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said there was "no possible justification to imperil life in this way".

"Those responsible are reckless and criminal and they will be condemned by everyone who wants a positive future for Northern Ireland," she added.

Angered

Nigel Dodds, the MP for North Belfast, described the bomb attempt as "outrageous" and said it could have caused "multiple casualties".

Image caption Police said the bomb "had the potential to cause serious injury or death"

"Not only were local residents placed in the line of harm, but so were those passing through the area and those making their way to nearby primary schools, shops and a playgroup," the DUP deputy leader said.

SDLP North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness said the incident represented "a very serious situation in terms of security in this part of Belfast".

"People are rightly angered by this - that annoyance was deep and severe for many families living in this area," he said.

Liam Matthews, who lives in the area, said his family had been "very inconvenienced".

"I'm a bit annoyed by the fact that we were kept out of the house."

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