25 August 2005

Petrol bombs thrown at officers


Petrol bomb attacks have taken place over several nights

Petrol bombs and other missiles have been thrown at police during another night of disturbances in north Belfast.

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.

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 north Belfast.

A gang of four youths attacked three homes in Cliftondene Gardens 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.

A neighbour, whose home was also attacked, said the mother was distraught.

"She was standing at the door with the baby in her arms and was pleading with them not to do anything," he said.

"But they still went ahead and threw the petrol bomb and paint bomb.

"Two young children were playing in the garden - one gets covered in paint and apparently the baby was cut with glass."

Crate of bottles

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," he said.

Many homes have been attacked during disturbances

Earlier, windows were smashed at a Protestant family's home in nearby Alliance Gardens.

In the Cliftondene Gardens incident, a petrol bomb hit the wall of a house, while paint attacks broke windows and showered a woman with glass.

It is understood the two young boys are related and the girl is a friend.

The gang escaped on foot leaving behind a crate of bottles filled with paint. Sinn Fein said they had meant to target more Catholic homes.

The police said they had recovered a number of "unused paint bombs" close to the scene and have appealed for local community representatives to use their influence to stop these attacks.

Superintendent Gary White condemned the attacks.

Sinn Fein councillor Danny Lavery said Wednesday evening's attacks were sectarian.

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