Two charged over suspected Real IRA bombs

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The Independent Online

Two men were charged on Wednesday night in connection with a bombing campaign on the British mainland that has been blamed on the Real IRA.

Scotland Yard confirmed that both men had been charged with conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.

A police spokesman said the first man had been charged with causing explosions in Ealing on 3 August and outside the BBC offices in Wood Lane on 3 March. The second has been charged with causing an explosion in Birmingham on 3 November as well as with firearms offences and possession of explosives.

The bomb left in Birmingham city centre would have caused a "very serious loss of life" if not for the fact that it failed to detonate properly, senior officers said at the time.

In Ealing, west London, 11 people were injured when an 88lb device exploded in an area close to crowded pubs. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Alan Fry, head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch, said officers were fortunate not to be "dealing with mass murder".

It came five months after a bomb exploded outside the BBC's White City Television Centre four miles from Ealing. A London Underground worker suffered cuts to his face.

The two men charged last night were arrested by Anti-Terrorist Branch officers in London and Liverpool last week as part of an investigation into a suspected Real IRA bombing campaign in Britain. They have been remanded in custody and will appear at Belmarsh magistrates' court today.

Three other men who were being questioned in London by the Anti-Terrorist Branch have been bailed in relation to forgery and fraud offences.

Another man who was being questioned in West Yorkshire, where police searched a farm, has been released without charge. A seventh man remains in custody in London.