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18 November 1999 Edition

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Death list home targeted

by Laura Friel

A man whose North Belfast home has been the target of a pipe bomb attack was warned two weeks ago that his life was in danger from loyalists. The family returned home last Sunday evening 14 November, after celebrating the birthday of their 12-year-old daughter to discover their Westland Road home had been attacked.

Neighbours who had gathered outside the house after hearing an explosion. Windows in the house had been broken. ``I realised it was more serious,'' said the resident. ``A smell like sulphur hung in the air.'' The householder then spotted a second unexploded device in the hedge at the front of the house.

The attack followed a number of warnings by the RUC that the family was being targeted by loyalists. ``Before Halloween, the RUC arrived at the house following a call to a Belfast newsroom which claimed a pipe bomb had been left at the house.'' Nothing was discovered, but a few days later the RUC returned.

``The RUC said that my life was in danger and my personal details were in the hands of loyalists,'' said the North Belfast man. ``I was given very few details and the RUC have not confirmed if my files were amongst those discovered in Stoneyford Orange Hall.''

Commenting on the attack, Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly said loyalists were attempted to derail the peace process. ``Once again loyalists are randomly targeting Catholics as part of their ongoing campaign of sectarian violence,'' Kelly said. ``Another family almost lost their lives as a result of this campaign.''

The pipe bombing followed a similar attack in Belfast's Lower Ormeau Road on Wednesday night, 10 November. A pipe bomb with a jam jar packed with nails attached was discovered on the windowsill of a house in Dromara Street shortly before midnight. The device was defused.

Meanwhile, threatening letters addressed to five people in the Newry area were intercepted by postal workers at a Newry sorting office. Each letter contained a bullet and was signed OV, shorthand for Orange Volunteers. Sinn Féin activist and former POW Sean Mathers and his three brothers were amongst those targeted.
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