Arson attack in east Belfast 'was racial hate crime'

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image copyrightPacemaker
image captionFlammable liquid was poured through the front door letter box of a house in the Hyndford Street area and set alight

Police are treating an arson attack on a house in east Belfast, in which a family of five escaped injury, as a racial hate crime.

Flammable liquid was poured through the front door letter box of a house in the Hyndford Street area and set alight at about 00:10 GMT on Friday.

Damage was caused to the door, and to a window.

A family of five inside the house escaped injury after a man managed to put out the fire himself.

Police described the arson attack as "a reckless act on a home where a family have the right to feel safe".

image copyrightPacemaker
image captionA family of five inside the house escaped injury after a man managed to put out the fire himself

"We could have been dealing with something much more serious today," Det Sgt Sam McCallum said.

"Thankfully, no one was injured, however, the family has been left badly shaken."

Det Sgt McCallum said that while enquiries into the incident are at an early stage, police are treating it as "arson with intent to endanger life" and "as a racial hate crime".

"Hate crime, in all its forms, is totally unacceptable," he added.

"It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that we live in a society where diversity is respected."

Police have appealed for information about the attack.

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