Saturday 24 February 2018

Blunder may have led to murder bid on soldier

Security forces deal with a booby trap bomb in a soldier's car in north Belfast yesterday
Security forces deal with a booby trap bomb in a soldier's car in north Belfast yesterday

Adrian Rutherford

SENIOR police officers in the North are furious after a military security blunder led to a dissident republican murder bid on a British soldier.

The soldier escaped unhurt after spotting the device, which had been left by the dissident IRA group Oglaigh na hEireann, underneath the driver's seat of his car in north Belfast.

A stolen Irish Army grenade was placed inside his car. The device was linked to a seatbelt buckle. The idea was when the soldier pulled the belt he would trigger the grenade.

It is understood he may have alerted the terror group to his whereabouts after driving around the area and telling local people that he was a soldier.

The soldier, who is in his early 20s and from Scotland, is likely to be interviewed about his personal security arrangements once he returns to his regiment. He could also face disciplinary action.

One security source said senior PSNI figures were "very concerned and unhappy" about the incident.

An MoD spokesman declined to comment, adding that security in Northern Ireland is a matter for the PSNI.

The soldier was staying with his 24-year-old girlfriend at Blackdam Court in the Ligoniel area when the device was planted inside the red Vauxhall Astra. It was discovered as the couple went to collect a two-and-a-half-year-old girl.

It is understood the soldier, who has since returned to Scotland, saw the device as he pushed the driver's seat forward to create more room for a baby chair.

Irish Independent

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