Bomb partially explodes in Belfast, nobody wounded

BELFAST (REUTERS) - A bomb partially exploded near one of Belfast's main shopping malls late on Sunday following a car hijacking, police said. There were no injuries.

A 1998 peace deal largely ended three decades of violence in Northern Ireland between Protestants who want to remain British and Catholics favouring unification with Ireland, but pockets of division and tensions remain.

A number of masked men hijacked the car before placing a device inside and telling the driver to take it to the Victoria Square area of the city. A number of residents and premises were evacuated before the explosion, police said.

"At around 11.15pm, as ATO (Ammunition Technical Officer) prepared to examine the car, the device partially exploded," a police spokesman said on Monday.

Over the last two weeks, cars have been either set on fire or dumped in Northern Ireland, while a handful of small bombs have also been defused in Belfast, Londonderry and Newry.

During Northern Ireland's sectarian conflict that began in the late 1960s, more than 3,600 people were killed, including more than 1,000 members of the British security forces.