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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
UVF blamed for bombing
Police cordon
Police cordon off street after bombing

The loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force is being blamed for an early morning bomb attack in east Belfast in which a family escaped injury.

A man, woman and five children, aged between seven and 15, were unhurt after a device was thrown at a house in Glenlea Park, Knocknagoney.

Army bomb experts were called to the scene of the attack which happened at about 0030 BST on Thursday. It damaged the front door of the house.

It is thought the attack is linked to the current feud between two outlawed paramilitary groups, the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) and the larger Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

The attack came hours after the LVF made an offer to suspend attacks for seven days to try to facilitate mediation to end the feud.

People do not want to be in this position and they want some surety or guarantee that six months down the line this community is not thrown into turmoil again
David Ervine
Progressive Unionist Party

However, on Wednesday, the UVF made it clear that its position was unchanged.

A source told the BBC that the organisation would not talk directly to the LVF and had not suspended its "operations".

There have also been allegations that since the latest feud began, the LVF has put some people out of their homes in the Garnerville area at Knocknagoney.

David Ervine of the UVF-linked Progressive Unionist Party confirmed that an offer had been made by the LVF through a church intermediary to end the violence.

Mr Ervine said the UVF had rejected the offer.

"This is the fourth feud within loyalism that has been sparked off by the LVF," he said.

"People do not want to be in this position and they want some surety or guarantee that six months down the line this community is not thrown into turmoil again."

East Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Joe O'Donnell appealed to unionist political and community leaders to redouble their efforts to end the feud.

"The small nationalist community in the east of the city is living in genuine fear that this internal loyalist situation will spill over into violence against them," he said.

Leo van Es, SDLP, called upon those involved to enter mediation and end the feud.

"They should take up the mediation offer of the Lord Mayor of Belfast immediately. Otherwise we must rely on community support for good policing to take these dangerous people off our streets," he said.

Weapons found

Police have appealed for anyone with information about the latest bombing to contact them.

On Wednesday, police recovered a number of loaded weapons in Longstone Drive in the Ballybeen estate in Dundonald on the outskirts of east Belfast.

Police said they believed the weapons were attributable to loyalist paramilitaries.

It is believed the find may also be linked with the loyalist feud.

Since the murder of the LVF member Brian Stewart a little over a week ago, there have been seven other incidents.

The bulk of these have been linked to the UVF, but two attacks on Tuesday were carried out by the smaller LVF.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC NI's security editor Brian Rowan reports:
"Senior loyalists on both sides are staying away from their homes"



SEE ALSO:
Efforts to end loyalist feud
26 May 04  |  Northern Ireland
Bomb explodes on city street
24 May 04  |  Northern Ireland
UVF 'behind blast bomb'
23 May 04  |  Northern Ireland
Bomb was 'substantial device'
22 May 04  |  Northern Ireland
Fresh appeal over killing
20 May 04  |  Northern Ireland
Long history of loyalists feuding
20 May 04  |  Northern Ireland


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