Northern Ireland

Woman left shaken after attack by masked men as toddler slept

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe bathroom was among the rooms of the house attacked by the gang.

A woman in west Belfast has been left shaken after four masked men with hammers forced their way into her house, threatening her and smashing windows and furniture.

Her three-year-old son slept through the attack.

The incident at Moyard Parade was reported shortly after 20:00 GMT on Friday.

It was the second such attack in the area in recent days.

The woman said the men claimed to be from the IRA and warned her she had 24 hours to leave her home.

The gang went on to smash windows, furniture and electrical appliances in the property.

Image caption The woman's furniture and electrical appliances were destroyed in the attack

The woman, aged in her 30s, was not injured, but police said she was left shaken by her ordeal.

She said she had no idea why she was targeted.

Another woman who was also in the house was uninjured.

The men were wearing dark clothing, with their faces covered.

It is believed they made off on foot along Moyard Parade.

There was a similar attack on another house in Moyard Parade on Tuesday night.

The 28-year-old woman who lives there said four or five masked men smashed the windows of her home, but did not get inside.

Image caption Windows were smashed at another house in Moyard Parade on Tuesday night

She said they also shouted they were from the IRA and told her she had 24 hours to get out.

She said she had not been back to the house since and had been left terrified by what had happened.

"I'm so afraid, I don't know what to do," she said.

"I'm on my own in the house. Nothing like this has ever happened to me."

She said she had no idea why her house had been targeted.

Police have appealed for information about both attacks.