Loyalist bomb could have caused carnage

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A pipe bomb factory discovered in a loyalist area of Belfast contained a bomb far bigger than anything so far used inattacks on Catholic families,police said yesterday. The device was capable of causing "total carnage".

A pipe bomb factory discovered in a loyalist area of Belfast contained a bomb far bigger than anything so far used inattacks on Catholic families,police said yesterday. The device was capable of causing "total carnage".

The RUC seized component parts for 11 pipe bombs, an under-car booby trap bomb, a coffee jar bomb and 10kg (22lb) of home-made explosives from the flat in the Mount Vernon area of the city. The largest device consisted of a fire extinguisher packed with 20kg of explosives. The RUC commander for Belfast, Alan McQuillan, said the bomb was fully prepared for detonation.

"If that device in particular had gone off, the advice we have is that it would have literally taken out the entire floor of flats in that level, and we would have been looking at total carnage," he said.

Superintendent Roger Max-well said all the materials were "extremely unstable" and all the residents living near by had been put at serious risk. "We believe this is an extremely significant find due to the size and amount of materials found. Its discovery has undoubtedly saved lives," he said.

Two Catholic families in Broughshane, Co Antrim were the targets of pipe bomb attacks over Sunday night. Neither bomb exploded and there were no injuries.

Police were also investigating the throwing of two improvised devices in north Belfast early yesterday.The RUC said that large Chinese fireworks with nails wrapped around them had been thrown over the line into Workman Avenue in the Springfield Road area. Neither exploded.

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