Northern Ireland news

Viable pipe bomb found in north Belfast security alert

A controlled explosion was carried out on a pipe bomb on North Queen Street 

A VIABLE pipe bomb was the source of a security alert in north Belfast, police have confirmed.

The alert centred on North Queen Street in the New Lodge and the road was closed for several hours on Tuesday.

British Army bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion and the device will undergo forensic examination.

PSNI Detective Inspector Mary White said the security alert had caused "massive inconvenience, disruption and upset" the local community and thanked members of the public for "their patience and cooperation".

She asked that anyone who noticed suspicious activity in the North Queen Street area close to Spamount Street to get in touch with police.

Two women, aged 27 and 38, were arrested on suspicion of breaching the police cordon.

Sinn Fein MLA  Caral Ni Chuilin said those responsible for leaving the device are at war with their own community.

She added: "Residents were forced out of their homes for several hours today while this device was being dealt with.

"Those responsible showed no concern or care about the safety of the residents or passers-by.

"It is no surprise to anyone that this incident followed a night of anti-social behaviour in the area associated with a nearby bonfire, which included street fighting among rival gangs and the theft and burning of local property."

She said hammers and knives were recovered and the explosive spotted.

"The people responsible for placing this device are at war with their own community. They should stop their futile actions before they kill or seriously injure someone."

Alliance councillor Nuala McAllister said: "People in north Belfast do not want to see this sort of incident taking place and are opposed to those behind it, who do nothing but cause disruption with their actions."

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Northern Ireland news