03 February 2006

School closed in security alert

BBC

**Sure takes a lot of guts to terrorise school children


A pipe with wires protruding was left at the gates of the school

More than 700 pupils were sent home from a school on the outskirts of Belfast following a security alert.

The alert began at 0930 GMT on Friday at St Colm's High School, Twinbrook, when a pipe with wires on it was discovered close to the front gates.

Meanwhile, a clearing up operation is under way on the Antrim Road in north Belfast after a controlled explosion was carried out on a suspect car.

The vehicle was parked outside Antrim Road police station.

The alert followed a telephone bomb warning.

Houses in the area were evacuated as the security operation got under way.

'Swift response'

School principal at St Colm's High, Imelda Jordan, commended staff and pupils for their swift response and condemned those responsible.

"The children's parents sent them to school today believing they would be in our care and kept safe throughout the school day, I wasn't able to do that," she said.

"I had to send 700 children home without transport and without being able to contact their parents."

The device was later declared an elaborate hoax.

Local assembly members described those responsible as despicable.

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Blast bomb

Near Derry, a couple and their 10-year-old daughter have escaped injury in a blast bomb attack at their home.

The attack happened at Benview Estate in Coshquin shortly after midnight.

Jimmy Poole who was in the house with his family at the time said it was a personal dispute with loyalists.

He said the attack was not political.

"They are all cowards. They won't come to your face. They come behind your back and do it. They won't come straight to your door," he said.

Sinn Fein condemned the attack. The party said loyalism needed to move away from violence.

"Our party's reaction is shock," said Councillor Billy Page.

"This is a very close knit community, a mixed community and a very elderly community around them. We totally condemn it."

The Poole family said they would not be intimidated out of their home.

Police investigating the attack said no motive had been established.

They have appealed for information.

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