Belfast barrack bomb leads to security review

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Security is likely to be tightened at the Belfast base of soldiers from the Borders and their families following a terrorist attack, writes Bob Burgess.

An immediate review was launched after the breach at Palace Barracks in Belfast on Friday.

The barracks, in the Holywood area of the city, is one of Northern Ireland’s most heavily fortified military bases.

It has been home to the Royal Scots Borderers since August 2014 when the battalion moved from it’s base at Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh.

It’s a permanent move with families moving with the soldiers.

The base is also home to MI5’s Northern Ireland headquarters.

What’s believed to be a letter or parcel bomb detonated in a Royal Mail van inside the complex after it had gone through a number of security checks.

The postman was out of the van making deliveries and escaped unhurt.

Experts say dissident republicans are likely to have been behind the blast.

Security at Palace Barracks was stepped-up in 2010 after republicans planted a massive car bomb at the rear of the base which caused extensive damage.

Following Friday’s attack security will be tightened even further.

There was disquiet amongst some families of soldiers from the battalion was it was confirmed Belfast was to be their new home. This was played down by military authorities.

The Democratic Unionist Party’s Gordon Dunne said the local community was shocked and concerned.

The Ulster Unionist’s Leslie Cree branded the bombers fascist-style criminals who sought rule by fear.