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Dublin: 0 °C Monday 30 March, 2020

Hundreds of homes evacuated in major Belfast bomb alert

Children’s home also has to be cleared out after dissident republicans claim they left “unstable” device on Antrim Road.

PSNI and British Army bomb disposal units such as these have been called to the scene in north Belfast
PSNI and British Army bomb disposal units such as these have been called to the scene in north Belfast

DISSIDENT REPUBLICANS HAVE sparked a major security alert in north Belfast after they warned that they had left a bomb there which was in an “unstable” condition.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Mark Hamilton ordered the Antrim Road closed at 4pm yesterday and evacuated around 100 homes and businesses in the area. A children’s home also had to be evacuated in the process. The PSNI had received a call from someone claiming to be from Oglaigh na hEireann yesterday afternoon, saying they had left an explosive device in north Belfast. Chief Supt Hamilton that after a device was found and a number of follow-up calls, the road would remain closed today. He said:

There’s no way I’m going to be opening the road again but I’m sure that there’s no risk of death or injury to anybody living or working in that area of Antrim Road.

We’ve received a number of calls over a 24-hour period and the last one in particular led us to believe we were looking for an unexploded bomb in an unstable condition.

He condemned the chaos caused by the planting of the device, saying:

If this turns out to be a real device, it’s madness because it will have been lying there and hundreds of people will have walked past it.

The British army is focusing on the Glandore Avenue area of the Antrim Road and a controlled explosion has been carried out on a suspect car. UTV reported from the scene (see here) yesterday evening. Detectives told them that the process of clearing the area was “vital but often slow” and that delays and disruption to traffic and residents’ lives had to be expected.

The North’s Justice Minister David Ford condemned those who planted the suspect device.

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