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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Petrol bomb attack 'is sectarian'
PSNI said a sectarian motive was "an obvious line of inquiry"
PSNI said a sectarian motive was "an obvious line of inquiry"
A petrol bomb attack on a house near Ballymoney in County Antrim is being treated as sectarian.

The device, thrown between 2230 and 2300 BST, caused extensive damage to the kitchen of the Castle Park house.

The property suffered smoke damage throughout. The owner discovered the damage when he returned home at about 0100 BST on Thursday.

"Initial inquiries suggest that the incident was sectarian," said a PSNI spokesman.

Graffiti daubed on the wall of the house read: "Taigs out" - a derogatory term used about members of the Catholic community.

However, Paul Bailey, the PSNI's district commander for Moyle, said he was "keeping an open mind" on the motive behind the attack.

Fortunately the occupants were out at the time, but this in no way mitigates the crime of those who used what we know only too well can be a murderous weapon
Sean Farren
SDLP

"This is an isolated community which gets on very well - in the lowest crime area of Northern Ireland - and this is most unusual," he said.

A sectarian motive was "an obvious line of inquiry", said the officer.

"But I cannot blank out any line of inquiry and I would he foolish to do so at this time."

DUP North Antrim assembly member Ian Paisley Jnr said such attacks had to stop "before a life is taken".

"It looks like a very nasty and vicious attack which must be condemned and which just strikes fear and intimidation into a local rural community.

"I think the police should look into the aspect of whether or not this is a case of mistaken identity, unfortunately - that would make it even more pathetic.

"But that aside, nothing justifies attacks of this nature."

'A sustained campaign'

SDLP North Antrim assembly member Sean Farren said someone could have been killed in the attack.

"Fortunately the occupants were out at the time, but this in no way mitigates the crime of those who used what we know only too well can be a murderous weapon," he said.

"We need to have these people taken off the streets by robust police action."

Graffiti daubed on the wall of the house read: "Taigs out"
Graffiti daubed on the wall of the house read: "Taigs out"

Sinn Fein's Phillip McGuigan said there had been a sustained campaign of intimidation against nationalists in the area.

"These attacks have been allowed to become the norm because of the ambivalence of many unionist political representatives," he said.

"I want to reiterate my belief that the DUP and others, who sit on forums and commissions with the leaderships of the UDA and UVF, can help bring about an end to these attacks."

Ulster Unionist Robert Coulter said there was "no justification whatsoever for sectarian attacks".

"People have a right to live in their homes, safe in the knowledge that they are secure and free from intimidation by mindless thugs.

"I would like to make an appeal for calm in the area and for anyone with any information to contact the police immediately," he said.




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