Police and shoppers injured in bomb blasts

THE POLICE and Christmas shoppers were targeted by the IRA yesterday when two small bombs exploded yards apart in north London, injuring 10 people.

Terrorists hid the bombs in litter bins outside two stores at the Shopping City complex in Wood Green and then issued misleading warnings about when they would explode. As a result police were still clearing the area in High Road, Wood Green, when the bombs went off smashing windows and glass doors but causing little structural damage.

Ten people, including four police officers, were taken to hospital, most suffering from shock or cuts. Only one, a 25-year-old man with an arm injury, was detained.

Although the attack was far less serious than the one a week previously in Manchester when 64 people were injured, it is clear that the IRA is trying to create a climate of fear during the busiest shopping period of the year.

Three warnings about the Wood Green bombs were telephoned to different organisations yesterday morning. They were immediately passed on to the police at 9.15am, 9.16am and 9.18am.

The first call said that the bombs would go off in 20 minutes, while the other two claimed that police would have 25 minutes to clear the area. In fact, the first bomb went off only 12 minutes after the last warning and the second exploded five minutes later. Scotland Yard later accused the terrorists of having set a deliberate trap knowing police would be trying to get shop staff and customers away from the area.

The injured officers were named last night as Constables Dorinda Digby, 31, John Adams, 45, Scott Lewis, 26, and Ian Fenton, 19, who only joined the Metropolitan Police on Monday.

Both bombs are thought to have contained about a pound of explosive. The first had been hidden in a litter bin outside a branch of W H Smith. The second, about 200 yards away, had been hidden in a litter bin outside a branch of Argos.

Last night the Association of London Authorities called on the the Home Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, to meet the costs of the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism operations.

Derek Sawyer, the ALA's policing spokesman, said: 'It is important that the Home Office recognises the amount of extra police time and resources which the spate of terrorist incidents requires and provides the Met with extra money to cope with these extra responsibilities.'

Fires broke out on a Belfast industrial estate last night, prompting fears of a terrorist incendiary bomb attack. The blazes started within minutes of each other at nine separate firms on the Duncrue estate in the north of the city.

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