[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 22 May, 2004, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Bomb was 'substantial device'
Two houses were damaged in the explosion
Two houses were damaged in the explosion
Some loyalist sources are blaming the Ulster Volunteer Force for an early morning bomb attack in east Belfast.

Two houses were damaged in the explosion with what police said was a substantial device.

There is a history of feuding involving the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the smaller Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF).

The LVF emerged out of the UVF in 1996 after a row involving one of its leaders, Billy Wright, who was "stood down". There have been many exchanges of gunfire and past killings between the two groups.

Police were alerted to the blast shortly after 0100 BST on Saturday.

When they arrived at the scene at Bloomfield Court, just off the Beersbridge Road, they discovered two houses had been extensively damaged.

The windows in both houses were shattered and the doors were hanging off their hinges.

The police said the device was placed on the doorstep of a house.

He brought us round to his house and I had to hold onto his shoulder - he called an ambulance and I had already collapsed, almost in his living room
Sam Cowan
Bomb victim

It was empty at the time of the explosion.

It is believed that house was the intended target of the bomb.

A man who did not want to be identified said a package had been left at his front door.

He said it was fortunate that he and his son were not there at the time.

"It was definitely an attempt at murder," he said.

"Since they didn't take into consideration the people next door to me they have attempted to murder them as well.

"By the grace of God, nobody was killed."

'UVF murder'

A PSNI spokesman said: "It wasn't a big bomb, but we are describing it as an important device."

Sam Cowan and his wife were asleep next door when the bomb went off.

Mr Cowan, 70, was treated at the scene for shock. He has a heart condition.

He said: "I came down with my wife because one of our neighbours had come over and knocked and got us out of bed.
Sam Cowan surveys the bomb damage to his house
Sam Cowan surveys the bomb damage to his house

"He brought us round to his house and I had to hold onto his shoulder - he called an ambulance and I had already collapsed, almost in his living room."

The police have not yet confirmed what sort of device caused the explosion.

The UVF was behind the murder of Brian Stewart in east Belfast on Tuesday.

The killing has been linked to feuding with the Loyalist Volunteer Force.

East Belfast Ulster Unionist assembly member Michael Copeland condemned the bomb attack.

He said the damage inflicted on innocent families was beyond justification.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC NI's Sharon Hall:
"A man who did not want to be identified said a package had been left at his front door"


BBC NI's Aisling McCrea:
"The police said the device was placed on the doorstep of a house"


Bomb victim Sam Cowan:
"I came down with my wife because one of our neighbours had come over and knocked and got us out of bed"



SEE ALSO:
Fresh appeal over killing
20 May 04  |  Northern Ireland
Long history of loyalists feuding
20 May 04  |  Northern Ireland


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific