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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Petrol bombs thrown at officers
Petrol bomb attacks have taken place over several nights
Petrol bomb attacks have taken place over several nights
Petrol bombs and other missiles have been thrown at police during another night of disturbances in north Belfast.

The home of a couple aged in their 70s was one of a number of houses in Alliance Avenue also targeted by petrol bombers.

The man was taken to hospital suffering shock after four devices were thrown.

Rival gangs of youths clashed in the Twaddle, Cranbrook and Ardoyne areas but there were no reports of any injuries.

Police said up to 30 youths threw paint, golf balls and a smaller number of petrol bombs at officers in the Brompton and Cranbrook areas.

The violence lasted about two hours. The police said community representatives worked with them to restore calm.

Earlier on Wednesday night, three children, including a 13-month-old baby, were splattered with paint during an attack at a house in north Belfast.

She was standing at the door with the baby in her arms and was pleading with them not to do anything
Victim's neighbour

A gang of four youths attacked three homes in Cliftondene Gardens at about 1730 BST. Loyalists are being blamed.

The children - a girl aged six, a boy under two and the baby Lorcon Grew - also suffered minor cuts in the incident.

A neighbour, whose home was also attacked, said the mother was distraught.

"She was standing at the door with the baby in her arms and was pleading with them not to do anything," he said.

"But they still went ahead and threw the petrol bomb and paint bomb.

"Two young children were playing in the garden - one gets covered in paint and apparently the baby was cut with glass."

Crate of bottles

Belfast deputy lord mayor Pat Convery said those responsible on both sides of the divide were sinking to new lows, targeting the elderly, the sick and mothers with babies.

"Murder cannot be far away unless we put a stop to it now," the SDLP representative said.

There have been several nights of disturbances
Many homes have been attacked during disturbances

Earlier, windows were smashed at a Protestant family's home in nearby Alliance Gardens.

In the Cliftondene Gardens incident, a petrol bomb hit the wall of a house, while paint attacks broke windows and showered a woman with glass.

It is understood the two young boys are related and the girl is a friend.

The gang escaped on foot leaving behind a crate of bottles filled with paint. Sinn Fein said they had meant to target more Catholic homes.

The police said they had recovered a number of "unused paint bombs" close to the scene and have appealed for local community representatives to use their influence to stop these attacks.

Superintendent Gary White condemned the attacks.

Sinn Fein councillor Danny Lavery said Wednesday's attacks were sectarian.

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds said he was disgusted by the attacks.

"The very elderly, the sick and disabled and even young children, have all been the target over recent days of a series of vicious attacks on homes across north Belfast," he said.

"It is essential that those who have instigated this violence for no good reason should stop their campaign of destruction."

NI Security Minister Shaun Woodward said the attacks would prompt a "very robust" response from the security services.

"The police are doing their very best, there are arrests that are being made," he said.

"But let's also be clear about this, there also has to be a response from the community as well as the police.

"I've read reports of youngsters under the age of 10, some maybe as young as six, involved in some of the violence over last weekend. It requires all of us to be involved in this."


SEE ALSO:
Pensioners attack 'was sectarian'
24 Aug 05 |  Northern Ireland
Bombs thrown in city disturbance
22 Aug 05 |  Northern Ireland
Hundreds clash during city riot
21 Aug 05 |  Northern Ireland


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