Police warn of more bombs

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The Independent Online
Police have warned of possible further IRA action in the run-up to the election following Wednesday's Wilmslow bombing which caused chaos to rail services.

As detectives sifted through calls from the public and debris at the explosion, the Provisionals' leadership reiterated its commitment to armed struggle to end British rule in Northern Ireland, although it had not claimed responsibility for the latest attack. Police were studying video tapes from closed circuit television cameras covering buildings near the blast.

Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch sources stated that there were signs of increasing IRA frustration after a series of failures in the mainland and Ulster, and said a "spectacular operation" could not be ruled out in the near future.

Senior officers are also worried about the way the warning of a device was relayed - it was given, seemingly at random, to an elderly woman living in Wilmslow. A man with an Irish accent was said to have used a known code word and told her a bomb in the town's police station would go off in half an hour.

In the past, bomb warnings have usually been sent to media organisations and the police. Failure by members of the public to realise the seriousness of a coded alert could lead to major casualties, the police said. Mervyn Jones, the Chief Constable of Cheshire, said he was "amazed" at the new tactic.

Security sources feel the IRA may concentrate on commercial targets rather than use violence against civilians. Extra precautions will be taken to protect the City of London and commercial centres in other cities. There are likely to more road blocks and security cameras. Railtrack said yesterday that services were getting back to normal, and the damage was not as bad as it had feared.