Loyalist paramilitaries behind a double pipe bomb attack in a Northern Ireland village planned to kill, police said today.
A device exploded after being thrown at a house in Cloughmills, Co Antrim, early this morning, showering a living room with glass.
Less than an hour before the attack at Cypress Park, another bomb detonated under a van parked in nearby Rosemount.
No-one was injured, but detectives, who believe they were linked, blamed terrorists waging a sectarian campaign against Catholics for the violence.
Inspector Nick McCaw said: “We are treating the incident at the house as attempted murder.
“Anybody would have been badly injured, if not killed, if they had been in that room when the device exploded.”
Sectarian tensions have heightened across north Antrim during the summer, with Catholic churches and pubs coming under attack.
A republican internment commemoration parade due to be held tomorrow night in Ballymena, a strongly Protestant town, has fuelled further resentment.
Sinn Féin claimed six families had also been ordered out of Ahoghill, another nearby village.
The party’s North Antrim Councillor, Daithi McKay, said both families targeted by the pipe bombers today were attacked before.
“They are adamant that they are not going anywhere,” he said.
“They have lived there all their lives and are not going to be intimidated or forced out of the village by a group of thugs.”
As police warned people in Cloghmills to be alert for any undiscovered pipe bombs, Mr McKay hit out at the paramilitaries.
“I would appeal to nationalists and republicans in north Antrim to remain highly vigilant in the time ahead as it seems that unionist paramilitary gangs are intent on escalating their campaign,” he added.
Sean Farren, a nationalist SDLP Assembly member for North Antrim, said he was disturbed by the attack.
He claimed: “Loyalist gangs are flexing their muscles all over North Antrim, most recently in a series of attacks on Catholic churches, but the use of pipe bombs may mean they are moving on to a new level of activity.
“Pipe bombs are made for one purpose only – to do murder.”