PSNI attacked as tensions continue
The PSNI said one of its patrols was targeted in an attack in Poleglass, on the outskirts of west Belfast, on Thursday evening.
A “viable” pipe bomb device missed the patrol by “inches”, according to the PSNI. The fuse burned out on the ground, they said.
Around 20 houses in the republican area were forced to leave their homes by the PSNI following the incident. Residents were not allowed to return until 3am on Friday, more than six hours after the original incident.
A similar attack took place in the area in the first week of June, when a blast-bomb device was also hurled at a PSNI patrol.
Sinn Fein has condemned the incident, which has not yet been claimed by any organisation. The attack comes amid an elevated level of violence in the North despite the end of the Protestant marching season.
Loyalist paramilitaries have been blamed for an attack in Coleraine, County Derry last weekend in which four masked men entered a home to beat and repeatedly shoot a man in the leg.
Four masked men, two believed to be armed, entered a home in Kingsbury Gardens at around 10.45pm on Thursday.
Three others, including an 11-year-old girl, were in the house as the gang beat the 45-year-year-old victim and shot him repeatedly in the leg.
John Dallat, a nationalist representative for the area, described those who carried out the attack as “thugs”.
“This is the handy work of loyalist paramilitaries who continually seek to assert their authority over the lives of innocent people,” said the SDLP Assembly member.
It was the latest attack on the family, who he said “have been to hell and back”.
“They had their house shot up before, they’ve been pipe-bombed, and they’ve had their car burned. But I think that last night really took it to its limits.”
Meanwhile, a Catholic woman forced to flee her home after a sectarian arson attack has been targeted again after returning briefly to the house to collect belongings.
Mother-of-three Janette Nelson fled her home in Newtownards, County Down, ten days ago after her young family had to be rescued from the burning property in the middle of the night.
She had been staying with relatives but returned briefly on Saturday to pick up some items when loyalist arsonists struck again, pouring flammable liquid through the door and setting it alight.
She managed to put out the flames before the fire took hold. Ms Nelson and her children are now sharing a room in her mother’s house.
“My two daughters are just devastated. Both of them are finding it hard to sleep, especially my middle one Sophie, she’s crying a lot and is very sad.
“She just wants to go home and be in her own room with her stuff. They’re just terrified and they love their wee house.
“They’re scared where we’re going to go now, you know ‘mummy how do we know we’re going to be safe, how do we know they’re not going to come after us wherever we are’.”
DRUG DEALER KILLED
And last [Thursday] night, a reputed drug-dealer was shot dead outside Belfast in an apparent vigilante attack.
The PSNI said the shooting, in the predominately nationalist Longlands estate of Newtownabbey, had been “ruthless” and “careless”. The victim, who is well-known in the area, was named locally as Danny McKay.
Sinn Féin councillor Gerry O’Reilly said: “There can be no justification whatsoever for this type of attack and those behind it need taken off our streets.”
Sinn Féin Policing Board Member Pat Sheehan said that he would be raising issues of ongoing loyalist violence at the next meeting of the Policing Board.
“There is a view that within certain loyalist areas these people are able to act with impunity with no fear of apprehension by the PSNI,” he said.
“The PSNI have a responsibility to ensure that Catholic families living in unionist areas are able to live free from sectarian harassment and attack. Likewise unionist political representatives need to provide leadership within these areas.
“Too often when offered with a choice political unionism will stand in the shadow of loyalist paramilitaries rather than on the side of the victim and on the side of what is right. That attitude needs to change.”