'Fringe' vigilante dissidents 'behind attacks' on Gerry Adams' and Bobby Storey's homes

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald with Gerry Adams and Bobby Storey after bomb attacks on their homes. Picture: Cliff Donaldson.

Senior republicans believe that someone on the fringes of one of the smaller dissident republican groups may have been responsible for an attack on the homes of Gerry Adams and Bobby Storey at the weekend.

Commercial fireworks were thrown at the west Belfast homes of the two veteran republicans last Friday.

A 35-year-old man arrested in connection with the attacks was released on police bail yesterday. A 46-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a number of offences, including criminal damage and remains in custody.

Large fireworks were thrown first at the home of Mr Adams, just off the Glen Road in west Belfast and then at the home of Sinn Féin chairman Bobby Storey, close to the Andersonstown Road, causing minor damage.

The car used in the attack, thought to be a dark coloured Renault, has yet to be recovered.

The attacks have been linked to dissident republicans by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, coming as they did just hours after republicans criticised the actions of dissidents in Derry, who had been accused of orchestrating violence in the city's Bogside.

Chief Constable George Hamilton claimed members of the New IRA were behind the Derry violence.

However, senior republicans said yesterday they did not believe the New IRA were behind the Belfast attacks but rather vigilantes on the edges of one of the anti-agreement groups.

It came as Secretary of State Karen Bradley condemned the violence in Belfast and Derry.

Speaking in response to urgent questions in the Commons linked to the trouble Ms Bradley said; "In many cases it would appear that young people are being exploited and goaded into criminal activity by adults who have nothing to offer their communities."

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