IRA blamed for arson attack

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The Independent Online
IRA supporters were accused last night of attempting to force Protestant families to flee after a series of arson attacks on houses and property in east Tyrone.

The home of Joel Patton, leader of a hardline Orange Order group opposed to compromise on the re-routing of loyalist parades away from nationalist areas in Northern Ireland, was one of three homes where flammable liquid was poured through letter boxes.

Mr Patton's attackers dropped unlit matches and ran off when he challenged them, but two other houses in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, were set on fire. In nearby Newmills, gas cylinders were thrown through the windows of a Post Office. Poppy wreaths were seized from the village war memorial and used to try to set fire to a nearby shop. Last night, Mr Patton, 47, said: "This was a clearly orchestrated campaign to drive Protestants out of the community."