14 July 2005

CIRA fired blast bombs, says 'spokesman'

Belfast Telegraph

By Chris Thornton
14 July 2005

The bomb attacks that injured police and civilians during Tuesday's Ardoyne riot were the work of the Continuity IRA, according to police and a man claiming to represent the dissident republican group.

The man said the bomb attacks were in response to police using plastic bullets against the rioters.

He claimed the group had been prepared to open fire on police, but feared injuring Ardoyne residents.

The development could cause concerns for the PSNI. Police intelligence has generally constrained dissident republicans, especially the smaller Continuity IRA.

But the injuries caused by the blast bombs used in the attack suggest police did not have advance warning of the attacks.

The alleged Continuity IRA spokesman told the Daily Ireland newspaper that the group had "three active service units in Ardoyne on Tuesday".

He claimed those units were armed and had a total of 15 men, mainly from north Belfast.

Rioting broke out as an Orange Order parade passed through a heavy security cordon on the Crumlin Road. Police said it was orchestrated, noting that rioters stepped back before the bomb attacks began.

Supt Gary White, the senior officer on the ground during the march, said: "This was a clear and deliberate attempt to kill police officers, there can be no doubt of that."

He said police came under an "lengthy and ferocious attack".

Nine blast bombs were thrown plus dozens of petrol bombs, stones and bottles.

One hundred police officers, two ambulance staff and eight civilians, including two journalists, were injured.

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