>>>>>> Flash: Shots fired at St Matthews
Shots have been fired by loyalists tonight towards St Matthew‘s chapel
amid a serious assault by unionist paramilitaries on the nationalist
Dozens of petrol bombs have also been thrown and several homes have
sustained fire damage, while at least one PSNI police landrover was also
engulfed in flames.
Buckets of water and sand have been used to quell the flames, which are
now reported to be extinguished. However, scores of residents,
particularly pensioners, have been forced to flee their bungalow homes.
Republicans from other areas have successfully made their way to the
area to assist in the defence, and a large crowd is now present, and
fighting has become sporadic. However, there are still concerns that the
rioting, the worst seen in east Belfast for several years, could
intensify and spread.
The immediate motivation behind the assault on the Short Strand,
involving by up to 200 masked paramilitaries on three fronts, remains
unclear. Loyalists dressed in military fatigues were seen nearby earlier
today, engaged in training exercises in apparent preparation for
tonight’s highly organised attack, some wearing surgical gloves and
Earlier tonight, continuous fireworks and a number of blast bombs
exploded in the area, while up to 12 shots were heard. Both gunshots and
petrol bombs were directed by loyalists towards St Matthew’s Chapel,
where republicans struggling to defend the church clashed briefly with
There were also simultaneous attacks by loyalists on Catholic homes in
two other interface areas of Belfast.
One loyalist is said to have received a gunshot wound to his own foot,
while a number of nationalists have been hospitalised, with one man said
to be in serious condition.
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