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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK
'Robust' attacks response pledged
Petrol bomb attacks have taken place over several nights
Petrol bomb attacks have taken place over several nights
Sectarian violence in north Belfast will be met by a "very robust" response from the security forces, NIO minister Shaun Woodward has said.

Mr Woodward was speaking after a night of violence in which homes and police officers were attacked with petrol bombs and other missiles.

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

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

"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."

Petrol bombs and other missiles were thrown at police during Wednesday night's disturbances.

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.

Lorcon Grew, aged three months, was cut during one of the attacks
Lorcon Grew, aged three months, was cut during one of the attacks

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 Cliftondene Gardens.

A gang of four youths attacked three homes in the street 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.

The gang escaped on foot leaving behind a crate of bottles filled with paint.

The father of two of the children said his two-year-old son saw the attack happening and said that "bad men" were trying to burn his house.

She doesn't want to go back this time, she won't even hear of going back
Victim's husband

Gareth Grew said his wife collapsed in his arms when she told him what had happened.

"She doesn't want to go back this time, she won't even hear of going back," Mr Grew said.

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.

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."

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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