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16 January 2003 Edition

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Strand attacked again

Sporadic stoning from the loyalist Cluan Place into the nationalist Clandeboye area of the Short Strand over the weekend escalated into a sustained attack that lasted over 20 minutes just after midnight on Monday 13 January.

Residents of Clandeboye told An Phoblacht that loyalists had been throwing missiles over the peace wall over the weekend. On Sunday a number of fireworks were hurled which exploded at the back of houses. However, just after midnight on Monday, say the residents, the trouble flared and for about 20 minutes or so there was a sustained attack on homes.

Bricks, metal plates and bottles were among the missiles thrown.

In a statement, Sinn Féin councillor for the area, Joe O'Donnell accused the UDA of involvement in the incident and said they were "attacking Catholic homes to deflect attention away from their feud".

According to O'Donnell the attack started almost immediately after observers who have been in place since last year to monitor the interface left the area.

Also over the weekend, a number of paint bombs were thrown at St Matthew's Church from the Newtownards Road. The loyalist attackers also set fire to the hedge surrounding the chapel grounds.

Gerry Kelly targeted

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly believes he was targeted by unionist death squads twice in the last month.

Kelly's suspicions were aroused at the weekend when he returned home and was told by a neighbour that a number of men had called at his home looking for him.

The neighbour reported that three men arrived at Kelly's home in a car and two got out and went to his door.

According to the neighbour the pair, who were wearing monkey hats and hooded jackets, went to the door of the house and tried the handle to see if the door was open before they rang the bell. No one was home so they just drove off.

Gerry Kelly said that his neighbour told him that three youths from the area witnessed the incident.

"I am all the more wary of this because last month I found a UVF ring outside my home," the North Belfast Assembly member said. Again a neighbour said he saw suspicious activity although when I found the ring I wasn't too concerned. Now, given this second incident, I am sure that loyalists are targeting me.

"I have been warned, previously, that I am on a death list so I am no stranger to loyalist threats, however I see these latest incidents in the context of the loyalist feuding and maybe they are trying to distract from that by attacking a high profile republican."


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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