EXCLUSIVE: THE Loyalist Volunteer Force carried out a blast attack in north Belfast which injured a woman and her pet dog.
The Belfast Daily can reveal that detectives don’t believe the attack was sectarian but are still working to establish a motive.
According to security sources, the LVF has recently “reconstituted” under a new leadership to carry out attacks.
It is believed to have been behind an arson attack recently in the Ballycraigy estate in Co Antrim.
During Sunday night’s attack, a 44-year-old woman received cuts to her legs when the device exploded as she opened the front door of her home at Thornburn Park in Greencastle to a caller.
Two family dogs, a Japanese Akido and a Poodle, were also caught up in the attack.
One of the dogs lost a paw while the other was left traumatised, police now say.
The woman’s husband and their 15-year-old daughter, who were also at home at the time, escaped injury.
Roberta Toan was on her way to bed when she heard a knock at the door of her house in the Thorburn Road area of Greencastle shortly after 9.45pm on Sunday.
Her legs were left cut and bruised by shrapnel from the blast, which she said terrified her daughter who was upstairs at the time.
“The bang. Lights blew. The smoke started the dog started crying, yelping. Rachel started squealing from up the stairs,” she said.
Mrs Toan said she does not know why she was targeted, but fears those who planted the bomb at her front door were trying to kill her.
“If I had have opened the front door then I would have been killed. Or if my 12-year-old daughter had answered the door she would have been killed too.”
Although her daughter and husband escaped unhurt, the family’s pet dogs were injured in the attack. Her Japanese Akido had part of its leg amputated while their poodle has cuts and staples and remains “very, very weak”.
“I’m lucky to be alive,” she explained.
“I’m just so disgusted that someone would do this try to kill somebody, come to a family home.”
North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds condemned the attack as “reckless”.
“It is appalling to hear that an explosive device was thrown at this woman, who had just answered a call to her door, and that she was injured by the explosion,” said the MP.
“Clearly this was an entirely reckless attack which could have resulted in very serious injuries or even death.
“It is deeply concerning that she has been taken to hospital with injuries. I hope and pray that these are indeed relatively minor injuries as is being reported locally.
“I condemn this senseless attack completely and without reservation. I appeal for anyone with information which could help bring the perpetrators to justice to pass that on to the police without delay.
“There has been an increase in the use of explosive devices in North Belfast over recent months. This must be brought to an end and I call for full co-operation from all sections of the community to make that happen.”
Local DUP Councillor Guy Spence added: “It is sickening that a blast bomb should be thrown at someone at their own front door and that it exploded.
“I attended the scene and have spoken to family members and neighbours. Everyone is shocked that such an attack would take place on this quiet cul-de-sac.
“There is no indication at this stage of what motive or purpose lay behind this disgraceful incident.
“I condemn those responsible for this attack. This is not what any right-thinking person wants to see happening in modern society.”
A dark coloured car, thought to have been a Ford Focus, was seen driving away from the incident towards the Serpentine Road.
Anyone who saw the attack or the car has been asked to contact police on 0845 600 8000.