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Northern politicians condemn viable device discovered in Belfast

A BOOBY-trap bomb attack that targeted a soldier in Belfast has been condemned today.

The device was discovered under the driver's seat of a car, with dissident republicans later claiming the murder bid.

Army bomb experts are examining the device after removing it following an alert in Ligoniel in the north of the city.

The Democratic Unionist MP for the area, Nigel Dodds, said the soldier's vigilance helped avoid loss of life.

"It is an absolutely appalling incident," said Mr Dodds.

"This was a viable device. It was designed and targeted to kill a particular target, it has emerged now, a serving soldier."

Families from 30 houses were evacuated while experts dealt with the bomb until late last night.

Mr Dodds said the incident was a reckless attack, aimed at killing the soldier, but also disregarding any risk to the public in a residential area.

The Oglaigh na hEireann group claimed the attack and said the bomb was connected to the car's seat belt.

Security forces have made no comment on the make-up of the booby-trap, beyond saying it was a viable device.

The security alert was triggered in the Blackdam Court area yesterday morning after reports of a suspicious object in the vehicle.

Residents were evacuated from their homes for most of the day as Army bomb disposal experts examined the car.

The officers carried out a controlled explosion on the object, and it was taken away for further examination.

Mr Dodds told the BBC that dissident groups represented no one.

"These people can achieve nothing by this activity," he said.

Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly slammed those responsible for the bomb.

"It is my understanding that this car travelled around north Belfast, and was in Ligoniel before this bomb was discovered," he said.

"It has left this community vulnerable to injury or worse had the bomb gone off.

"In Ligoniel itself many people, including families with children, were forced to leave their homes.

"Those behind it need to realise that there is no support for this and the community rejects the groups behind such attacks. Their actions are outdated and will serve no furthering of any political agenda or otherwise.

"The people of Ireland have overwhelmingly endorsed the peace process and it is high time such groups caught up with this."