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Saturday, 27 October, 2001, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Bomb attack on soldier condemned
Security remains high in north Belfast following the attack
The army has said that a blast bomb attack in north Belfast which left an 18-year-soldier critically injured was "a co-ordinated, pre-planned and deliberate attempt to kill".

The soldier, serving with the First Batallion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, is in a stable condition in hospital.

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.

I have no doubt that one of the loyalist paramilitary groups was behind this and I am virtually certain that this was the UDA

Alan McQuillan

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Blagbrough, the commanding officer of the First Battalion the Royal Welch Fusilliers, said the attack was "reckless".

"This reckless incident has seriously injured a young soldier on duty supporting the police," he said.

There was renewed trouble in the Glenbryn area of the city on Saturday, close to where the soldier was injured, but the area is now quiet.

RUC 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.

Minor injuries

"I have no doubt that one of the loyalist paramilitary groups was behind this and I am virtually certain that that was the UDA," he said.

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

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

On Friday, officers carrying out targeted searches in the area discovered a pipe-bomb making factory and several firearms.

And army experts examined 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.


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.

BBC NIs chief security correspondent Brian Rowan:
"Security sources are linking the UDA in north Belfast to the blast bomb attack"
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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