Republicans blamed for attack

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The Independent Online
THIRTY-FIVE people were treated in hospital last night after a car bomb attack badly damaged the centre of Banbridge, Co Down, writes Sophie Goodchild. Dissident republicans opposed to Sinn Fein's peace strategy were blamed for the attack.

There had been a warning, but police said they had insufficient time to clear the area. The RUC was evacuating the area when the bomb exploded. Two people, a shopkeeper and a police officer, were admitted to hospital and the rest were treated for cuts, bruises, shock and eardrum injuries.

Police said the bomb was in a Vauxhall Cavalier abandoned in the town's Newry Street - close to where a bomb was defused earlier this year. A spokesman said the bomb contained up to 500lb of explosives.

The explosion caused "substantial" damage to the area .