Loyalists may have planned festival carnage
A car bomb abandoned by unionist paramilitaries near Belfast city
centre last week was destined for the city's St Patricks Day
carnival, it is believed.
The car bomb was found shortly after 8pm on St Patricks night
parked in the south of the city.
The device, made up of a gas cylinder, fire extinguisher and
incendiary devices, was similar in construction to the UVF car
bomb planted at the Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle in August
It could have caused a giant fireball to rip through the city
Both devices appear to have been targeting festivals where large
crowds of people were gathered in the street.
Its unclear whether the bomb was intended to disrupt the St
Patricks Day carnival or to explode while people were packed
into the city centre, the security source said.
Francie Mackin, who had to evacuate customers when the car bomb
was found outside his bar, said police at the scene told him the
device could have caused widespread damage.
When the police first told me there was a bomb outside I thought
they were joking. When no one in the bar owned the car we
evacuated the place immediately, Mr Mackin said.
I actually looked into the car and could see a gas bottle and
fire extinguisher on the back seat with a white box taped on top
The PSNI told me the target for the bomb was the St Pat-ricks
I asked a police man how much damage the explosion would have
caused and he told me it would have destroyed anything or anybody
Sinn Fein south Belfast assembly member Alex Maskey described the
incident as deeply worrying.
It would appear that loyalists in south and east Belfast are
escalating their activities far beyond pipe bombs, he said.
If this bomb was destined for the city centre then it could have
caused untold carnage.
It seems clear that one of the loyalist organisations was intent
on creating mayhem.