Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 16:27 UK

TA explosion 'could have killed'

Scene of alert
Police cordoned off the scene while the device was examined

The police have confirmed that a bomb has exploded inside a Territorial Army base in north Belfast.

PSNI Area Commander Chief Inspector Ian Campbell said that "some blast damage" occurred inside the base off the Antrim Road.

Shrapnel from the overnight explosion was also found in neighbouring streets.

Chief Inspector Campbell said it was believed the device was thrown over the front gate of the compound in Ashfield Crescent shortly before 0100 BST.

"Had an innocent person been in the area at the time they could have been killed or seriously injured," he added.

He also confirmed that one person was seen running from the area.

Members of the public reported hearing an explosion in the vicinity of the base between 0130-0200 BST.

Army technical officers were then called to the scene to examine the object which was found by police.

An MoD spokesman said there were "guards on the base" at the time, although no-one was injured.

According to the MoD website, The North Irish Horse, a Royal Armoured Corp unit, is based at the Dunmore Park Camp.


The website also says soldiers from the regiment train at the base most Wednesdays.

North Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Tierna Cunningham said the attack was "reckless and endangered families living nearby".

The area's DUP MP Nigel Dodds said north Belfast had "witnessed an escalation of dissident republican terrorist activity".

North Belfast DUP councillor Ian Crozier, who lives in the area, said he had heard the explosion.

"I heard an almighty bang early this morning. Apparently a bomb of some sort was thrown over the fence of the barracks.

"Thankfully nobody was hurt."

There has been an increase in security across Northern Ireland following a number of recent incidents blamed on dissident republicans, who oppose the peace process.

Last Friday, a police officer's partner was injured when a bomb exploded under her car in east Belfast.

In September, the dissident republican Real IRA admitted leaving bombs outside the homes of relatives of a police officer in Londonderry.

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