By David Whelan

R ESIDENTS in a North Belfast street have been left reeling after six shots were fired at an unmarked security vehicle while young children played in the street.
The attack at Oceanic Avenue, just off the Antrim Road, happened shortly before 10pm last Thursday (June 26) as children enjoyed the late summer daylight hours.
At the time police reported that the shots were fired through windows of a car, which had been parked in the street and was empty at the time.
However the North Belfast News has since had it confirmed by police that the Peugeot 206 belonged to security firm G4S, a company contracted by the government to carry out the electronic tagging of offenders and suspects across Northern Ireland.
It is understood that two members of G4S staff had been attending a house in the area when the attack was carried out by a group of unmasked men.
A 24-year-old man, a resident in the area, was arrested and questioned in relation to the incident, but was released the following day pending further inquiries.
Days after the attack it emerged that a group of dissident republicans calling themselves the IRA had issued a threat against G4S staff.
A resident in the area, who did not wish to be identified, told this paper that the attack had been carried out with no consideration for children playing in the street.
“Thankfully my children were in the house at the time and were unaware of what had happened but I knew straight away what the loud bangs were,” they said.
“There is a shop at the top of the street with young children coming to and from, as well as those out playing, it could have been very dangerous.
“There should be no interference in the course of the criminal justice system and the methods employed to ensure this communities safety as justice is sought.”
A spokesperson for G4S said that they had been made aware of a threat to their staff and are working closely with police and the Department of Justice.
“Our top priority is the safety and security of our employees who are carrying out their legitimate work which helps contribute to the justice process and public safety,” he said.
Speaking to the North Belfast News Sinn Féin Councilor Mary Ellen Campbell called the attack “senseless”.
“Those behind the shooting and the issuing of threats against workers don’t represent this community and should withdraw all threats,” she said.
“Anyone that witnessed the incident or has any information on the shooting should come forward
‘”There should be no interference in the course of the criminal justice system and the methods employed to ensure this communities safety as justice is sought.”

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