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Alarm over north Belfast sectarian attack

It is disturbing that there has been an upsurge in anti-social behaviour across Belfast over recent days and it is particularly alarming that a vicious attack on a 14-year-old boy in the north of the city is being treated by police as sectarian in nature.

Robert Holmes, from the loyalist Tigers Bay district, was assaulted by a gang as he walked close to the neighbouring nationalist New Lodge on Saturday evening, beaten with bats and hammers and suffered a fractured skull and bruising to his brain.

It must be hoped that he makes a full recovery and that all violent offenders who target victims on the basis of their perceived religion are swiftly brought before the courts.

The strong condemnation of the incident from elected representatives on all sides was at least one positive sign after a difficult period for community relations in a sensitive area.

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