10-day-old child caught in petrol bomb attack
10-day-old child caught in petrol bomb attack

A 10-day-old child escaped injury at the weekend after the homes of four Catholic families in Newtownabbey were petrol bombed.

The infant escaped unhurt when the family home in the County Antrim town was one of a number of Catholic homes attacked by loyalists shortly after 11pm on Saturday.

The child's father, who did not want to be named, last night revealed that the family had only narrowly escaped serious injury as they had been unaware that the front of their home was in flames until they were alerted by a passer-by.

``We were at the back of the house and the child was in the front room when there was a banging at the front door,'' he said.

``A local girl had seen the petrol bomb attack and had run under the outside porch, even though it was on fire, to raise the alarm.

``When I opened the door to her the flames just hit me.

``The flames from the porch roof were dropping down on the girl herself.''

The couple, who live in the house with their 10-day-old child and a four- year-old daughter, believe that the houses were attacked simply because the owners are Catholic.

Sinn Fein councillor Breige Meehan condemnded the attack.

``I would call on all nationalists to be extra vigilant while these attacks are taking place,'' she said.

Meanwhile, children playing near their south Belfast homes discovered a suspected pipe bom.

Sinn Fein councillor Alex Maskey said loyalist youths had crossed the railway line, which forms a buffer at the interface, and then left the object, which turned out to be a hoax.

``Golf balls, ball bearings and paint bombs have been thrown at residents in McClure Street all week.''

``But this is a more sinister development and I would urge loyalist community leaders to use their influence to stop this sort of thing happening,'' he said.

``We don't want to see anyone on the other side being affected by this.''

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