Hoax alert prompts security call

Army bomb experts examined the object

Residents of a County Antrim estate have called for increased security measures following a hoax bomb alert.

The incident happened shortly after 2230 BST on Saturday when loyalist paramilitaries phoned a Belfast newsroom.

They said a bomb had been left at a community centre in the Rathenraw Estate in Antrim.

Police cordoned off the area and army bomb experts were called in.

They examined a gas canister which had been left outside the centre.

It was declared a hoax in the early hours of Sunday morning.


The Red Hand Defenders said it had made the call.

The group claimed responsibility for an attack in north Belfast on Friday in which a forklift was driven into a pub before petrol bombs were thrown into the building.

They also admitted sending bullets through the post to Sinn Fein members, including party leader Gerry Adams, which were intercepted by postal workers on Thursday.

The Red Hand Defenders is a cover name used by the Ulster Defence Association and the Loyalist Volunteer Force.

SDLP councillor Donovan McClelland said it was a worrying and sinister development.

Rathenraw is a predominantly nationalist estate and residents claim they are frequently targeted by loyalist paramilitaries in the area.

Residents' spokesman Paddy Murray said they wanted to see better security, including CCTV, to help prevent attacks.

Mr Murray said residents have been holding talks with the Progressive Unionist Party and Antrim Borough Council to express their concerns about sectarian attacks.

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