Dissidents blamed for London tube bomb

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The Independent Online

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson has pointed the finger of blame for a bomb found near Ealing Broadway station in London at dissident Republicans.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson has pointed the finger of blame for a bomb found near Ealing Broadway station in London at dissident Republicans.

Mr Mandelson revealed that a warning about the device which was phoned into police used the same code word as that used in the attack on the railway line at Newry recently.

During question time Mr Mandelson said: "I deeply regret the inconvenience to rail and Underground travellers today. The main paramilitary groups are maintaining their ceasefires. There remains, though, a threat from dissident paramilitaries who are opposed to the Good Friday Agreement."

Bomb disposal experts performed a controlled explosion on the device found this morning.

Police were alerted to a bomb threat near Ealing Broadway tube station at 6am today, and the surrounding area was immediately sealed off.

A suspect package was discovered on the track near the Ealing station, and a controlled explosion carried out at about 10.30am, British Transport Police said.

It is not yet known whether the package was a viable device.

Chief Superintendent Dave Hatcher said: "Early this morning there was a call to police that has caused us to take very seriously the possibility of there being a device placed on the railway line in Ealing Broadway."

"There has been a find and a small explosion of a small suspicious device."

Mr Hatcher said the area would remain closed while further investigations continued.

Residents living near the scene of the explosion were evacuated from their homes and traffic was diverted from surrounding roads.

Railtrack said it had been asked to suspend services in the alert area at around 6.25am.

British Transport Police said the device was placed deliberately on the track, and was not rubbish or unattended baggage.

Superintendent Tony Thompson said the device was found in the spot where police were told it would be.

Victoria main line and underground stations and Westminster Tube station had also now been closed, causing further massive travel disruption across London.

"This is a particularly serious incident and we are treating it as very significant," he said.

"This is not simply a case of a suspected package found at a Tube station and it takes a lot for us to decide to take this sort of action."

The device was exploded at about 10.50am but no damage was caused to the rail track, said Mr Thompson, adding that the armed forces were now involved in the security operation and disruption could be expected for several hours.

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