Suspected mortar bomb found near north Belfast primary schools

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A suspected mortar bomb has been discovered close to a police station in Northern Ireland.

The device was found close to New Barnsley station in north Belfast yesterday morning.

Army bomb disposal experts were called to the scene off the Ballygomartin Road.

A number of houses were evacuated and two schools were forced to close due to the continuing security alert. Police said they believed the suspect item was a “mortar type device”.

The incident comes after officers intercepted a van carrying mortars and launchers close to a police station in Londonderry earlier this month.

And last weekend three police officers escaped injury when an explosive device detonated within metres of them as they patrolled a coastal path on the outskirts of Belfast.

North Belfast Assembly Member William Humphrey said the latest device was found on waste ground near a primary school by a taxi driver at 7am.

The security alert caused disruption to a funeral cortege.

“This device, discovered early this morning, has the appearance of a mortar in a launcher tube,” said Democratic Unionist Mr Humphrey. “It is pointed in the direction of New Barnsley police station, which would appear to have been the intended target.”

He added: “It is utterly appalling and disgusting that terrorists should put lives at risk by preparing such an attack.

“If this device had been deployed it could have caused indiscriminate slaughter, whether in the police station or among 
people living in houses on either side.

“The fact that it was discovered close to two primary schools only adds to their recklessness.”