‘We will not be dragged back into the past’

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Terrorists who left a pipe bomb at Whitehouse Park on Saturday evening have been condemned for putting innocent people’s lives at risk.

The viable device was discovered under the railway bridge near Whitehouse Working Men’s Club at around 8.50pm, following an anonymous call to police.

A number of properties in the area had to be evacuated while Army Technical Officers examined and removed the device. Disruption was also caused to rail services on the Belfast-Larne Line.

Residents were eventually allowed to return to their homes at around 12.45am on Sunday, September 28.

Condemning those responsible for leaving the pipe bomb, North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said: “It was act of extreme recklessness to place a viable explosive device in this residential area. Those responsible were prepared to place innocent members of the public at risk of serious harm. Whatever cause they sought to advance by this cowardly act of terrorism will be rejected by the vast majority of society.

“The device was placed under the railway bridge at Whitehouse Park, causing danger and disruption for rail services as well as to local residents who were evacuated from their homes until after midnight. This incident has been very distressing for residents and has caused inconvenience for rail passengers.”

The DUP man added: “Once again we are indebted to army bomb disposal officers who ensured this device was made safe and could be recovered.

“Those responsible must be caught and brought to justice and I appeal to anyone who can assist the police investigation to pass that information on without delay.”

Councillor Billy Webb, who lives not far from the scene of the incident, said those behind the attack must be “removed from the streets as soon as possible.”

“I must condemn those behind this incident, which had the potential to end far more seriously,” he commented.

“While it remains uncertain who was behind this direct attack on the local area, one thing is clear - the community remains united in condemning this kind of thuggish behaviour and won’t allow those behind it to drag us back to the past.

“I want to recognise and praise all involved in bringing this alert to an end safely, including the staff from Newtownabbey Borough Council who opened and manned the Valley Leisure Centre, allowing those who were forced to evacuate their homes a safe and welcoming place to take refuge,” the Alliance man said.

Investigating officers have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to contact them at Newtownabbey Police Station on 101, or to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.