A bomb containing 60kgs of home-made explosives partially exploded inside a car in Belfast city centre. The incident happened around 9:30pm on Sunday, where a masked gang hijacked a car, placed the bomb on board, and then ordered the driver to take it to a shopping centre.
The car was left at the entrance to Victoria Square car park, and the bomb exploded at about 11:15pm just as army bomb experts prepared to examine the car.
Justice Minister David Ford said: “Those responsible for this attack have shown a total disregard for life, including that of the driver they forced to carry the device. They also have a disregard for the people of Belfast.”
Commuters faced traffic disruption today, as both Victoria Street and Chichester Street were closed overnight but reopened just before 8:30am.
“The device exploded en route it could have caused untold death and injury,” Mr Ford added.
The car in question was a silver Renault Laguna with the registration number CJZ 4697. It had been hijacked in Jamaica Street, in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast.
Hundreds of people in Belafst who were caught up in the alert had to seek overnight security. Those living close to the scene at Victoria Square had to leave their homes overnight, and others were moved from a nearby cinema.
BBC NI reporter Rick Faragher, who lives in the Victoria Square apartments, was among those who had to leave their home. He said: “people were confused, they were not quite sure what was going on… there was a tremendous sense of frustration, it was particularly cold last night and there was quite a few of us out on the street.”
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