Bomb attacks on security forces blamed on dissident republicans

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Two attacks, including one on a police station, have put security forces on a heightened state of alert as dissident republicans again appear intent on extending their campaign of violence in Northern Ireland.

Two attacks, including one on a police station, have put security forces on a heightened state of alert as dissident republicans again appear intent on extending their campaign of violence in Northern Ireland.

No one was injured in the mortar attack yesterday on a Royal Ulster Constabulary station in Armagh city but there were several narrow escapes. On Tuesday a soldier escaped uninjured when an 80lb bomb partially exploded at a training camp in Co Londonderry.

The attacks coincided with the latest day of evidence at the inquests on 29 people killed in the republican attack in the Co Tyrone town of Omagh. From police and other witnesses the inquest was told such details as that of a woman who lost the back of her skull. Another witness told of finding a 20-month-old baby, who later died, "black with debris".

In yesterday's Armagh attack the device was fired from a van parked on a building site beside the police station. It exploded inside a perimeter fence. Officers and civilians were treated for shock.

A man taking his son to school along a busy street, the Mall, when the explosion happened said: "A piece of debris from the bomb went down the Mall and took a branch off a tree and came down around my son. He just escaped any serious hurt or injury. It was very dangerous and frightening."

Chief Inspector Derek Williamson of the Royal Ulster Constabulary said: "It was launched without warning in an absolutely indiscriminate fashion and at a time when the place was busy with schoolchildren and people going to work."

The Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Seamus Mallon, said: "This attack was designed to kill and injure in an indiscriminate way. It is a deliberate attempt to destabilise political progress by those opposed to democratic, devolved government. Unfortunately, a minority still see violence as a means of subverting democracy, but the devolved government is strong and durable."

In Belfast the loyalist paramilitary feud continued, with disturbances in the city. There was shooting and a bomb attack on the home of a member of the Assembly.

A volley was fired as police separated gangs wielding pick handles and baseball bats on the lower Shankill estate after a number of attacks in the area. No one was hurt.

The disturbances came after a pipe bomb was thrown at the home of Billy Hutchinson, a leading figure in the Progressive Unionist Party, which is linked to one of the warring organisations, the outlawed Ulster Volunteer Force.

A pub in the same area was hit by a blast bomb and houses were attacked by groups of men who drove out the occupants, police said.

Comments