British troops to return to Belfast streets

Monday, February 05, 2001
British troops are to return to the streets of north Belfast later today for the first time since they were withdrawn last year.

Assistant chief constable of the RUC, Alan McQuillan, said the soldiers would be used against the escalating loyalist pipe bombing campaign. So far this year, forty pipe bombs have been thrown by loyalists at mainly Catholic families, as well as property such as schools and churches.

The crude devices are already potentially lethal but at the weekend, a pipe bomb containing petrol or another similar inflammable liquid was thrown into the home of a Catholic family in north Belfast, who narrowly escaped with their lives.

The escalating campaign has led Assistant chief constable Alan McQuillan to request military backup on the streets of north Belfast, beginning today. He believes the attacks are due to members of a splintering UDA.

Meanwhile, SDLP assemblyman, Alban Maginnis, has offered to meet anyone, anywhere, to try and stop the almost daily pipe bombings.