City bomb ‘attached to child’s bike’

One of the two bombs at the centre of a three-day security alert in north Belfast was a booby-trap device attached to a child’s bicycle, police have said.

Bomba a North BelfastThe two bombs planted on the Antrim Road area of the city last month were made safe by army bomb experts.

Three men were arrested in the north Belfast area on Tuesday in connection with the bombs.

The trio, aged 33, 34 and 38 , are being questioned at Antrim Serious Crime Suite.

The first bomb – a shrapnel device – was found outside a video rental store on Tuesday 25 January following a number of anonymous telephone warnings.

The second bomb – a booby trap device – was discovered a day later after a follow-up search. It was attached to a child’s bicycle and placed beside a scout hut.

Dissident group Óglaigh na hÉireann is believed to be behind both devices.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway said the bomb made safe outside Xtra-Vision was planted in a bid to lure and kill officers.

He said it could easily have murdered members of the public.

“On Sunday 23 January at 9.45pm staff at Xtra-Vision on the Antrim Road in Belfast reported that a male had damaged a window and ran off,” he told UTV.

“It is my assessment that this was an attempt to lure police into the area. The identification of the person who caused the criminal damage is vital to progress.”

Police officers attended the scene of the incident a short time later.

DCI Galloway continued: “When the technical officers examined the scene they discovered a secondary device concealed with the aid of a children’s bike.

“This attempted attack has been reckless from the start, but to actually deploy a children’s push bike – where a young child would come across it and be tempted to move it or lift it – is reckless in the extreme.”

Police have released a picture showing a man at a video store close to the location of the first bomb and a photograph of the child’s bike.

Anyone with information on the incident of criminal damage at Xtra-Vision, or the child’s bicycle, is asked to contact detectives at North Queen Street Police Station.