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Bomb transported on bike

A bomb that caused widespread disruption when it exploded in Belfast's busy Cathedral Quarter during the Christmas party season was transported on the handlebars of a bicycle, police have revealed.

The device partially detonated at Exchange Street West on Friday December 13 at around 7pm, when restaurants in the area were busy with revellers.

There were unconfirmed reports at the time that senior members of the PSNI were dining near to where the bomb, contained in a sports holdall, was abandoned.

A coded warning was not specific and the device - packed inside a pressure cooker -- went off as police were still clearing the area. Police said approximately 1,000 people were affected by the disruption. The attack was claimed by the dissident republican group oglaigh na hEireann.

Two weeks previously the same group claimed responsibility for a car bomb that partially exploded close to the Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast city centre.

The device containing 60kgs (132lbs) of home-made explosives was placed in the back of a hijacked taxi on Sunday November 24 and the driver forced to take it to the centre, where he abandoned it before raising the alarm.

Detectives from the Serious Crime branch investigating Cathedral Quarter bomb attack yesterday issued two CCTV images that show the suspected bomber driving through St Anne's Square on a bicycle with a holdall on the handlebars.

The man is wearing a hooded top and is believed to have travelled on the bike along Talbot Street and through St Anne's Square before leaving the holdall in Exchange Street West.

Detective Inspector Chris Wilson said: "These images were taken at 5.46pm when the area was busy. "In Talbot Street the cyclist actually moves in the opposite direction to the traffic. In St Anne's Square the holdall is visible beside the bike's handlebars.

"our inquiries are progressing. We have established that a pressure cooker was used as part of the device. The attack ruined a night out for hundreds of people but it had the potential to injure or kill.

"I am appealing to anyone who was in the Cathedral Quarter around 5.45pm and saw a man on a bike wearing a black hoody and carrying a black Slazenger holdall to contact the police.

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