Two released in Belfast car bomb probe

Thursday 05 December 2013 20.34
The bomb was left at Victoria Square
The bomb was left at Victoria Square

Police have released two men being questioned about an attempted car bombing in Belfast city centre.

The men aged 44 and 45 were detained in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast yesterday.

A PSNI spokesman said the men, who were being quizzed by serious crime squad detectives in Co Antrim, had been released unconditionally.

The 60kg bomb, which was loaded into the back of a car, partially exploded as army bomb experts prepared to examine it on 24 November.

The driver of the car had been hijacked in Ardoyne and ordered to transport the device to Victoria Square, the city's main shopping centre, which is close to Laganside courts.

He managed to abandon the vehicle at the entrance to an underground car park and ran to a nearby police station to raise the alarm.

No one was injured and no buildings were damaged but hundreds of people were evacuated from restaurants and a cinema and apartments during the security alert.

Police blamed dissident republicans and said they would be stepping up operations in Belfast city centre in a bid to thwart further attacks in the run-up to Christmas.