City centre bomb partially explodes (UTV)

A bomb driven to Victoria Square in Belfast city centre in a car hijacked by masked men has partially exploded as army experts prepared to examine it, police have confirmed.

The explosion happened at about 11.15pm on Sunday night, amid a security alert which had been underway since 9.30pm.

The car was hijacked in the Jamaica Street area in the north of the city and the device placed inside.

The driver was then ordered to take it to the Victoria Square retail centre.

The alarm was raised, with homes and business premises evacuated.

The bomb partially exploded, but no was one hurt in the incident.

While some roads remained closed early on Monday, affecting rush-hour traffic, all cordons have since been lifted and residents – who had gathered at the Ulster Hall – have returned to their homes.

A PSNI spokeswoman earlier apologised for the inconvenience, but added: “The safety of the community is of paramount importance.”

In a separate incident, Ravenhill Avenue was closed in both directions at its junction with Roseberry Gardens and Roseberry Road after a suspicious object was found in the area on Sunday.

Earlier, a suspect object found at Stockman’s Lane was declared a hoax by police following a controlled explosion. It was the first of the three security alerts to disrupt the city on Sunday.

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