Belfast army patrols cut

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The Independent Online
Daytime army foot patrols are to be taken off the streets of west Belfast from today. Describing the decision as "prudent", the Royal Ulster Constabulary Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan said the need to continue mobile patrols would be kept under review.

There was violence last night, however, in loyalist areas of north and west Belfast following the arrest of a leading loyalist figure. Petrol bombs were thrown during rioting in the Shankill district and in the most serious incident, close to Crumlin Road prison in north Belfast, a number of men stopped a bus. The men, one of whom was armed, sprinkled petrol and demanded money but before the driver could respond a petrol bomb was thrown at him. He was engulfed in flames, suffering serious burns to the face, chest and leg.

In other incidents, police fired a plastic bullet in clashes with a loyalist mob. Although the disturbances lasted only an hour, up to a dozen vehicles were hijacked in what were clearly co-ordinated incidents.

Outside Belfast, a bomb, described by the security forces as crude but capable of igniting, was dealt with in the town of Antrim.

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