|Fire bomb explodes in Belfast city center
Christmas shoppers were evacuated from central Belfast after a fire bomb ignited in the Northern Ireland capital's Cornmarket district, police said. It was the third such bombing in the past few weeks.
“Cornmarket in Belfast city center has been closed by police following an incident at around 6.40pm this evening when a suspected incendiary device was left at a shop,'' said a Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman, AFP reports.
“The device is believed to have ignited but was removed from the premises by staff and left outside.''
The incident comes three days after a bomb exploded in the city, although no-one was injured.
Alban Maginness from the Social Democratic and Labour Party slammed those responsible for Monday's attack.
“It beggars belief that following the placing of a bomb in the Cathedral Quarter on Friday night that Belfast would be faced with yet another attempted act of wanton destruction,'' he said.
“To place an incendiary device in a busy shopping area is both reckless and irresponsible and serves no rational purpose.
“Those behind this incendiary device are anti-Belfast and just want to threaten jobs, livelihoods and people's enjoyment of our city. They must not be permitted to prevail,'' he added.
Police warned last month of an upsurge in activity by dissident republican paramilitary groups who want the British province to be part of the Republic of Ireland.
More than 3,500 people died during three decades of violence between Catholic republicans and Protestant unionists who want to remain part of Britain.
The unrest was largely brought to an end by 1998 peace accords which created a power-sharing government between the two communities, although low-level violence continues.