Bomb left in Belfast could have caused carnage, PSNI warns

British army technical officers carry out controlled explosion on cylindrical device

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said a  bomb planted  in Belfast was designed to kill officers but could have murdered anyone in the vicinity. Photograph: Getty

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said a bomb planted in Belfast was designed to kill officers but could have murdered anyone in the vicinity. Photograph: Getty

 

A large bomb left in north Belfast on Friday could have inflicted carnage, senior police have said.

The device was placed in the busy Ardoyne area, prompting a day-long security alert with homes and businesses evacuated.

Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process are suspected of being responsible.

The alarm was raised when a bomb threat was phoned in to a local priest. The bomb was left close to the junction of the Crumlin Road and Brompton Park near Holy Cross Church.

British army technical officers carried out a controlled explosion on the cylindrical device.

Police Service of Northern Ireland chief superintendent Nigel Grimshaw said the bomb was designed to kill officers but could have murdered anyone in the vicinity.

“It was clearly placed in a position that was designed to attack police who may have been in the vicinity,” he said.

“Without question, even at this stage, I am absolutely convinced it would have killed or seriously injured police had it detonated.”

PSNI chief constable George Hamilton condemned those responsible.

In a tweet, he described them as “small minded people creating risk for communities as they attempt to kill police officers”.

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly described the attempted attack as “futile”.

“Thankfully no one has been injured as a result of this reckless action of placing a bomb in a busy built-up area much used by local people for shopping,” he said.

“This incident caused serious disruption all day to the lives of local people and closed off local roads. However, it could have been much worse.

“Those behind this incident have nothing to offer the people of this community other than trying to plunge us back to the past.

“The community is not prepared to let them do that.

“They need to stop these futile actions immediately and let people in the area get on with their lives in peace.”

SDLP Assembly member for the area Alban Maginness MLA praised residents for their fortitude.

“Once again those intent on mayhem and destruction have tried to hold the people of Ardoyne to ransom,” he said.

“And once again the people of this community have stood strong and continue to stand resolutely against the type of violence that caused so much pain here.