Pregnant woman finds bomb strapped to car

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The Independent Online

Loyalists in Northern Ireland were today accused of planting a bomb under a car belonging to a heavily pregnant woman.

Army bomb disposal experts carried out a number of controlled explosions on the suspect device, which had been strapped to the car and which a police spokesman said appeared to be the real thing.

As the security operation continued, Sinn Fein claimed it was a sophisticated device and immediately accused loyalist paramilitaries of trying to murder Catholics.

According to Michelle Gildernew, the Sinn Fein MP for the area, a seven months pregnant woman discovered a device under her car outside the family home in Greystone, near Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

She was too distressed to speak and had left the area, Ms Gildernew said.

But the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP added that checks carried out had confirmed suspicions among republicans in the area.

"This is worrying stuff," she said. "There have been fears about loyalist death squads in the area targeting Catholics and I believe this has very sinister overtones."

The woman, who is in her 30s, was later located by police at a house some 10 miles away.

They said several hours elapsed between the time the device was first spotted and the time it was reported to them.