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9 December 1999 Edition

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Baby lucky to escape injury in loyalist attack

The mother of a four-month-old baby girl says her child had a narrow escape when their home was attacked by loyalists at Broadway, West Belfast at 4.45am on Sunday 5 December.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, the child's mother, Denise, explained what happened.

``I was in bed when I heard voices outside. I looked out the window and saw about four or five men standing at the other side of the road. One of them pointed at our house and then pointed down the road towards their getaway route into the loyalist Village area.

``I said to my boyfriend that they were going to attack the house. As he looked out one of the loyalists shouted `What are you looking at?' and threw a bottle at the window, smashing the glass. The glass landed where our baby would normally sleep. The other three men then began throwing things at the other windows.''

A local man, who did not want to be named, caught the attention the group and was viciously assaulted. The man spoke to An Phoblacht saying, ``I came across the group and saw that one man was giving the others instructions. They then turned and attacked me''. He was left with severe bruising and a dislocated shoulder.

According to Denise, the RUC then arrived but the loyalists just stood at the bottom of Broadway shouting sectarian abuse.

It is believed that two men were arrested in connection with the attack on the house, which is overlooked by a British army spypost on top of a block of nearby flats.

``People have been arrested before after similar attacks but that was the last we ever heard of it. We were never told if they were released or charged''.

Denise's mother, who also lives in the house, said: ``This has happened 34 times since we moved in here. People in this area don't sleep at night, they are always on edge in case something happens.

``It has already happened to us at Easter and last Boxing Day when the attackers broke the windows and shouted `Red Hand Commando'. Our windows have also been shot at with ball bearings''.

The family's also criticised the Housing Executive, which, they say, has refused to replace the windows.


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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