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Blast bomb victim 'lucky to be alive'

Roberta Toan's legs were cut and bruised during the blast bomb attack.

A woman who was injured when a blast bomb was thrown at her north Belfast home said she feels lucky to be alive.

Monday, 25 February 2013
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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. Police have confirmed they are treating the attack as attempted murder.

Although her daughter and husband escaped unhurt, the family's pet dogs were injured in the attack. Her Japanese Akita had part of its leg amputated while their poodle has cuts and staples and remains "very, very weak".

"I'm lucky to be alive," Mrs Toan explained.

If I had 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.

Roberta Toan

"I'm just so disgusted that someone would do this try to kill somebody, come to a family home..."

Police are looking for a dark coloured car, thought to have been a Ford Focus, which was seen being driven away from the home towards the Serpentine Road.

Nigel Dodds, North Belfast DUP MP, said it was a reckless attack.

"There has been an increase in the use of explosive devices in North Belfast over recent months," he said.

"This must be brought to an end and I call for full co-operation from all sections of the community to make that happen."

Gerry Kelly, Sinn Féin MLA for the area, condemned the attack on a family home.

"Those who left the device and knocked on the door to lure someone out could never have been sure who would have answered. It could have even been a child.

"The attack is wholly reckless. Essentially it amounted to attempted murder," he added.

A group calling itself the Real UFF has claimed it carried out the attack. Police say they are still trying to establish a motive.

The Japanese Akita lost a paw in the bomb blast in north Belfast.