Northern Ireland

Belfast hoax bomb alert suspect released

A 24-year-old man arrested after a hoax bomb alert in west Belfast forced about 100 families to leave their homes, has been released pending further reports.

Army bomb experts carried out several controlled explosions on a car abandoned outside New Barnsley police station on Wednesday night.

The alert has now ended. Police said nothing was found.

Many people from the Springmartin area spent the night in a community centre. They have been allowed to return home.

Dissident republicans are being blamed for two bomb attacks earlier this week.

A bomb exploded in Londonderry and an army major was targeted in a booby trap car bomb attack in Bangor.

Independent Unionist councillor Frank McCoubrey was among those who had to leave their homes on Wednesday night.

"What I have seen is total and utter chaos," he said.

"Families lifting children, there were old age pensioners. Up to 100 families were moved from their homes, young children are screaming.

"This is a community that has suffered at the hands of interface violence and 40 years of the Troubles. We thought those days were in the past."

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