26 June 2003 Edition

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Scappaticci targeted by hoax bombers

The West Belfast home of the man alleged by the media to be the British Army agent 'Stakeknife', was the target of an elaborate bomb hoax on Tuesday 24 June.

British Army technical officers carried out a controlled explosion on a suspect device found in the front garden of Freddie Scappaticci's Andersonstown home before declaring it a hoax.

Commenting on the hoax attack, Sinn Féin councillor Alex Maskey said that faceless and nameless British securocrats made a raft of serious but unsubstantiated allegations against Freddie Scappaticci which has been accepted and repeated by the media without question even though Scappaticci appeared at a press conference and denied the allegations.

"Mr Scappaticci's home has been shown on various media outlets and his address was widely publicised and it is in this context this attack has to be viewed," said Maskey. He added that the Scappaticci family should be left alone to get on with their lives in peace.

Meanwhile, the home of Portstewart SDLP councillor Billy Leonard was attacked by loyalists who threw bottles filled with paint at the front windows of his High Road home. Four young children were in the house at the time and no one was injured. A black binliner containing a box left outside his front door was later confirmed to contain a battery, timer and pipe after examination by a British Army bomb disposal team in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Leonard had spoken out against loyalist paramilitary flags being erected in the area and the antics of some Rangers supporters after their team won the Scottish football league.

Loyalists force pensioner to leave home

A Catholic pensioner was forced to abandon her home in Magherafelt, where she has lived for the past 18 years, after a note was pushed through the letterbox of her Leckagh Drive home warning all Catholics should leave the estate.

It was later reported that less than 24 hours later, six masked men were seen outside Betty O'Loughlin's former home.

The 63-year-old said she can't go back to the estate after what has happened even though everything she owns is in the house. She has been left so traumatised her doctor has prescribed tranquilisers.

"In the last five years nearly every Catholic family has been forced out and if someone doesn't do something soon there won't be any Catholics left," she said.

The pensioner accused the PSNI of ignoring the loyalist intimidation.

Loyalists try to raise tensions in the Short Strand

Sinn Féin has accused loyalists of trying to raise sectarian tensions in the Short Strand area in the run up to the marching season, after homes in the Clandeboye area came under sustained attack from stone throwing loyalists on Sunday night, 22 June.

Sinn Féin councillor for East Belfast, Joe O'Donnell, said homes came under heavy attack at around 8pm from the loyalist Cluan Place and despite attempts to end these attacks through contacts with interface workers, the barrage continued right up until 12.30pm.

"While there has been a period of relative calm, it is extremely worrying that this attack took place, just weeks after loyalists made threats of violence in relation to parades in East Belfast," he said.

Neo-Nazis behind racist attack

South Belfast racists are behind a pipe bomb attack on the home of two South African women last week.

At approximately 11.30pm on the evening of Wednesday 18 June, the two women - who are too afraid to be identified - had just gone upstairs to bed when an explosive device was hurled through the living room window of their Donegall Avenue home in the unionist Village estate. Fortunately, it failed to explode.

"I heard the window smash, and when I went downstairs there was a brick and a metallic object in the room," said one of the terrified women. "We contacted the police and they arrived on the scene with soldiers. I have only been in Belfast a couple days and I am really frightened."

The attack came only days after the British Nazi Party papered the Donegal Road with pamphlets describing asylum seekers as "unwanted invaders" and warning locals that "these criminals will be given your taxes and council houses".

Loyalist attacks yards from PSNI barracks

A Catholic family from Torrens Gardens, North Belfast, have criticised the PSNI for failing to catch loyalists who attacked their car parked opposite Oldpark PSNI barracks in the early hours of Sunday 22 June.

The father of five told of his anger as all of the windows of his carwere smashed with hammers by loyalist thugs while his family slept, even though the vehicle was parked opposite the massive PSNI barracks, which is bristling with CCTV cameras.

Sectarian stabbing

A 15-year-old Catholic youth out socialising with friends was stabbed in the back and hit over the head with a bottle by UDA members as he walked along the Annadale Embankment, just off the Lower Ormeau Road around 7.30 pm on Sunday 22 June. They then struck another youth on the head with a brick before fleeing the scene by car.

Sinn Féin said the youth was attacked by a well-known loyalist because he was wearing a Celtic shirt.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin South Antrim councillor Martin Meehan has told An Phoblacht of his fear of further sectarian attacks after a cache of unionist paramilitary pipe bombs and ammunition were discovered in a disused school in Antrim on Sunday 22 June.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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