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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 July, 2005, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Attack on city church 'sectarian'
Holy Cross church and monastery
The attack on Holy Cross church has been condemned
A petrol bomb attack on a Catholic church in north Belfast is being treated as sectarian, police have said.

Two devices were thrown at Holy Cross Church and monastery at about 0200 BST, causing damaged to the roof.

A third petrol bomb was thrown when police and fire crews arrived. Stones were also thrown at the police.

Parish priest Father Aidan Troy said he was thankful that no-one was injured in the attack, but that it had put people in danger.

"Once you throw a naked light into a house where people are sleeping, and a monastery is a house, then you have, in one sense, endangered their lives," he said.

"I wouldn't want to say that there was anybody very close to it, but it could have gone wrong, it could have gone disastrously wrong."

Sinn Fein North Belfast assembly member Gerry Kelly said there was no justification for the attack.

"Holy Cross monastery is a focal point for the local nationalist community and last night's attack targeted this," he said.

"It could very easily have been much worse. It is fortunate that we are not dealing with worse damage here, and indeed deaths, as a result of this petrol bomb attack."

He said unionist leaders must use "whatever influence they have" to bring such attacks to an end.




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