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Shop worker describes 'massive bang' on Belfast road

Woodstock Road in Belfast Credit: PA

A shop worker waiting to gain permission to open up in the Woodstock Road area of Belfast said he had heard a "massive" bang at about 7.20am.

"I didn't know what it was but it was huge," said the man who declined to be named.

A large cordon has been put up around the scene with several streets closed off. Part of a twisted bumper can be seen lying at the side of the road.

A prison officer injured in the explosion is in hospital. It is understood the man's injuries are not considered life threatening.


Murder investigation launched after Belfast shooting

A man has died after being shot in east Belfast, police have confirmed.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland launched a murder investigation after the victim died in hospital.

The shooting happened in the Comber Court area of Short Strand shortly before 9pm.

Sinn Féin councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile condemned the killing, saying: "There can be no place for actions like this in our society. The community here rejects any attempt by any armed group to turn the clock back to the past."


Police officer injured in Belfast at parade flashpoint

A police officer is dragged away after being struck by an object thrown by Loyalist protesters at the Ardoyne Roundabout, Belfast. Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

A police officer has been struck and injured by a piece of masonry thrown by loyalists during an Orange Order parade in Belfast.

Police have deployed water cannon on the protesters.

Sporadic violence broke out in the north of the city, after police prevented loyalists marching from the unionist Woodvale area toward the nationalist Ardoyne.

On the other side of the police lines, a girl believed to be aged around 16 was reportedly struck by a car as republicans gathered at a row of shops on the edge of the Ardoyne. Police said the driver of the vehicle has been arrested.

The Orange Order condemned the violence and appealed for calm. "Those involved in violence should desist," said a spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

"It is not only counter-productive but also plain wrong. Such actions are only strengthening the hand of those who wish to further curtail our parades. We call on anyone engaged in illegal behaviour to stop immediately."

The spokesman said a bus transporting Orangemen was stoned as it passed through Greysteel, Co Londonderry, earlier this evening. He said it was understood no-one was seriously injured in that incident.

Thousands expected at Belfast equal marriage rally

Credit: PA

Thousands of people are expected to walk through Belfast today in a rally for marriage equality.

Following the Yes vote in last month's Irish referendum, Northern Ireland is now set to be the only part of the UK or Ireland where civil marriage is denied to gay couples, campaigners said. Actress Nuala McKeever is expected to address protesters.

Unionists earlier this year rejected a proposal from Stormont Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to hold a referendum on the issue similar to the Republic.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has rejected a proposal calling for the introduction of gay marriage, after debating the issue for a fourth time.

Sinn Fein said equality rights for same-sex couples must be shared by citizens in the north and it will continue to campaign for the reform.

Organisers Amnesty International, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Rainbow Project are asking marchers to assemble outside the Belfast campus of Ulster University from 2:30pm on Saturday.

Arrest after former world boxing champion's son killed

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering the son of a former world boxing champion.

Eamonn Magee Jnr, 22, was stabbed in the Twinbrook area of West Belfast during the early hours of this morning and died in hospital from his injuries.

His father is former WBU welterweight champion Eamonn Magee Sr.

Eamonn Magee Sr. Credit: Gareth Copley/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The 32-year-old suspect was arrested in the nearby Dunmurry area.

Police were called to the Summerhill Park scene at about 2.40am following reports that a man had been stabbed. Mr Magee Jnr had followed his father into the ring and his death has sent shockwaves through the world of boxing.

Spectator and rider 'critical' after Superstock racing crash

A spectator and a rider are in critical condition in hospital after a crash at a motorcycle racing event in Northern Ireland.

Race organisers said the female fan was airlifted to the Royal Victoria hospital in Belfast after the incident at the North West 200, and is in a critical but stable condition, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said.

Stephen Thompson, a Northern Irish rider involved in the crash, was also being treated at the hospital and in a critical condition, the trust said.

Austrian Horst Saiger - also involved in the crash during the second lap of the race - has also been transferred to hospital but is not believed to have serious injuries.

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