Belfast peace and reconciliation centre petrol bombed

Three petrol bombs and a pipe bomb were used in the attack

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The Independent Online

A peace and reconciliation centre in Belfast has been bombed.

Three petrol bombs are understood to have been thrown at the Sammy Duddy conflict transformation centre, whilst a further unexploded pipe bomb was also found.

The attack took place at around 01.30am today.

The pipe bomb was defused by Army bomb disposal experts and has been taken away for forensic examination.

There have been no reports of injuries.

Fire officers and Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers tended to the scene.

PSNI Detective Sergeant Michael Hawthorne has urged witnesses to come forward: "I appeal to anyone who has information in relation to this incident to contact detectives."

The centre is named after a leading loyalist Sammy Duddy who died in 2007 and was linked to the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), an extreme loyalist group which was responsible for the killing of hundreds of Catholics during the Troubles.

Today, thousands of unionists and loyalists in Northern Ireland marched as part of Twelfth of July parades. The annual marches have proved contentious historically and often see a rise in sectarian attacks and tensions between communities in the days surrounding it.

In a separate incident, a man was assaulted by a gang in Larne, County Antrim in the early hours of this morning in what the police are treating as a sectarian hate crime.

With additional reporting by Press Association