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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
House targeted in bomb attack
House in Larne attack in overnight incident
The home was attacked during the night
A family whose County Antrim home was targeted in a bomb attack have been under threat from the UVF for several weeks.

It is believed two devices were thrown at the house on the Upper Cairncastle Road, Larne, at 0040BST on Friday.

The retired couple and their grown-up son were asleep in the house at the time of the attack. They were unhurt.

Police believe a loyalist paramilitary group, the UVF, was responsible for the attack.

The family is well known in the Larne business community and help to run a Christian mission in the town

Police said they had no political or paramilitary connections.

However, PSNI Chief Inspector David Hanna said the terrorist group was engaged in a campaign of intimidation.

"Our line of inquiry would lead us to believe that this attack was carried out by the UVF.

"The family has received death threats from that organisation in relation to an ongoing court case.

The people of this society have had enough violence and it is time to move on without it
David Ervine
PUP
"This family had no connection with any organisation at all."

The front of the house and driveway were damaged in the attack.

A window was also smashed.

The householder said the family were thankful that no-one was injured. He did not want to comment but said they were thankful to the police and army for reacting so quickly.

David Ervine of the Progressive Unionist Party, which has close links to the UVF, said he was "angry and disgusted" at the attack.

"As far as I am concerned those who were responsible are unreasonable, irrational, and I ask them very clearly to desist.

"The people of this society have had enough violence and it is time to move on without it.

East Antrim MP Roy Beggs condemned the attack. "If this attack was perpetrated by paramilitaries, it merely underlines the fact that they have nothing to offer society," he said.

"Today's paramilitary organisations are vicious anachronisms, knee deep in criminality, that continue to show contempt for the judicial system and the official forces of law and order.

'Criminal act'

The chairman of the DUP in Larne Council, Jack McKee, said it was "a criminal and terrorist act".

"This attack will be condemned by the vast majority of people in the town, both Protestant and Roman Catholic," he said.

"Only last night, the district policing partnership had a public meeting and I, as chairman, had said that since there were no pipe bombings in the town for some time, we hoped it would be a thing of the past.

"This news does the image of Larne no good and has to be condemned."

Larne representatives Jack McKee (DUP) and Danny O'Connor (SDLP)
Larne representatives Jack McKee (DUP) and Danny O'Connor (SDLP) condemned attack
The blast occurred near the home of SDLP councillor and former MLA Danny O'Connor who is a member of the district policing partnership.

"It was only 200 yards from me and I thought it was even closer when I heard the bang," Mr O'Connor said.

"An explosion is not something that is designed to frighten, it's designed to kill. Whether it has been a pipe bomb or a nail bomb, anyone engaged in this type of activity is trying to take human life."

Urging the police to do everything in their power to catch the bombers, he added: "This is the last thing we want in this town. It's the law of the jungle being re-established."

Alderman John Mathews, an Alliance councillor in Larne, called on the people behind the attack to stop before someone was seriously hurt.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC NI's Julian O'Neill reports:
"The family helps run a Christian mission and is well known in the local business community"



SEE ALSO:
House damaged by pipe bomb
17 Aug 03  |  Northern Ireland
Houses targeted in attacks
20 Mar 03  |  Northern Ireland


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