Loyalists bomb rival group's offices

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The Independent Online

Loyalist violence continued in Northern Ireland yesterday with a booby-trap bombing that seriously injured a man and an explosion on the Shankill Road in west Belfast.

Loyalist violence continued in Northern Ireland yesterday with a booby-trap bombing that seriously injured a man and an explosion on the Shankill Road in west Belfast.

The two incidents were apparently unconnected, one was thought to be drugs related, but they have both added to tensions in the loyalist paramilitary underworld where the Ulster Defence Association is in a feud with the Ulster Volunteer Force.

One man was seriously hurt and others slightly injured in an explosion in a van at the normally quiet Co Down seaside town of Bangor. A device went off as the van drove along one of the town's main streets.

The main suspect for the attack is the Loyalist Volunteer Force, which is said by security and loyalist sources to be increasingly prominent in the drugs trade.

The injured man was head of security at a Bangor nightclub, and was said to have been threatened by LVF drug dealers. David Ervine, of the UVF-linked Progressive Unionist Party, said: "This man was under serious threat of losing his life because of his stand against the drug dealers. He has evicted these people and this is the price he paid. It has nothing to do with the Shankill."

In the early hours of yesterday morning, however, the UVF bombed a Shankill Road office used by UDA supporters. The fact that they used powerful commercial explosives in the attack was seen by the Royal Ulster Constabulary as an extension of the feud.

After the explosion police found parts of a mortar and grenades, which had apparently been stored in the building.

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