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28 October 1999 Edition

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Pipe bomb attacks

By Laura Friel

Two loyalists have been arrested in Dungannon after a pipe bomb was discovered in the vehicle in which they were travelling. The van was stopped by the RUC on Tuesday, 27 October at around 5.15pm on the main Dungannon Road to Moy. Two men were seen by local residents being taken from the vehicle handcuffed and covered with white hooded coats.

Twelve families living in the nearby Ranfurley estate were evacuated for over two hours while the British army searched for further devices. The bomb exploded during a controlled explosion by the British army.

This is the latest incident in an ongoing sectarian campaign of attacks by loyalists using these weapons. Elizabeth O Neill, one of ten people whose deaths have been directly linked to Orange protests at Drumcree, was killed on 5 June after a pipe bomb was thrown through the window of her Portadown home.

Throughout this year, hundreds of Catholic families have suffered pipe bomb attacks on their homes and property. Ballycastle Sinn Féin Councillor James McCarry and his family narrowly escaped injury earlier this year when a pipe bomb was thrown through their living room window. The attack was part of a concerted loyalist campaign of intimidation targeting the McCarry family.

Within the last month, three pipe bomb attacks have taken place in North Belfast. A Catholic taxi driver escaped injury after a pipe bomb was thrown at his vehicle on 4 October. A Catholic family living on the Deerpark Road was attacked on 15 October and a second family from Cliftondene Crescent was attacked on 17 October. In West Belfast on 12 October, a young couple and their two-month-old baby escaped injury when a pipe bomb thrown through the window of their Twinbrook home failed to detonate.
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