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Saturday, 27 October, 2001, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Soldier injured in bomb attack
Police believe the soldiers were lured into an ambush
A soldier has been seriously injured by a blast bomb in a flashpoint area of north Belfast.

Police said he was one of a group of soldiers manning a checkpoint who were pelted with petrol bombs and other missiles to lure them into an ambush.

As they advanced to deal with the situation a blast bomb was thrown at the 18-year-old who is seriously ill in hospital.

Several policemen also received minor injuries in the attack which happened shortly after 2100 BST on Friday during disturbances on the Ardoyne Road.

Soldiers who were standing there trying to protect both sides of the community were attacked by these people - clearly with a view to killing them

Alan McQuillan
Belfast Assistant Chief Constable

Belfast Assistant Chief Constable Alan McQuillan said the attack was likely to be the work of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

The loyalist paramilitary group is believed to be behind a spate of violent incidents in the area in recent weeks.

Mr McQuillan added: "Soldiers who were standing there trying to protect both sides of the community were attacked by these people - clearly with a view to killing them."

The DUP MP for the area, Nigel Dodds, said whoever was responsible, the attack was totally unjustified.

"I would appeal to anyone who thinks that this sort of incident advances any sort of cause to think again and to desist," he said.

"They are not doing it in the interests of anyone in society."

Nigel Dodds DUP
Nigel Dodds:" I would appeal to these people to desist"

Earlier on Friday officers carrying out targeted searches discovered a pipe-bomb making factory and several firearms.

And army experts are examining several pipe and petrol bombs found in a derelict house near the scene of the attack.

The Ardoyne Road has been the scene of daily loyalist protests outside a Catholic girls' primary school.

And earlier on Friday two people were arrested during scuffles with security forces.

Attack on home

The UDA is also being blamed for a separate incident in which an elderly Catholic man and his two sons escaped serious injury in a blast bomb attack on their home in nearby Alliance Avenue.

A device exploded in the kitchen area of the house. The three were treated for shock.

Sectarian tensions in north Belfast and surrounding areas have been high since the summer.

In recent months both Catholic and Protestant homes have been attacked.

The tensions also spilled over into sporadic outbreaks of rioting and street clashes in recent weeks.

The BBC's Sarah Lockett
"The violence on the streets continues"
The BBC's Annita McVeigh
"The teenager remains critically ill in hospital"
See also:

04 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Pipe bombs defused in north Belfast
21 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Girls injured in Belfast 'blast'
27 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Officers injured during clashes
14 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Priest likens Holy Cross to Afghanistan
11 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Peace wall for school dispute
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