Dissident IRA lets off device in army base

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Dissident Republicans breached security at a Northern Ireland military base yesterday, apparently coming close to blowing up army sleeping quarters. Only a small explosion took place, when a timing unit went off at 3am, causing minor damage and no injuries. It did not trigger off approximately 15kg of home-made explosives packed into three gas cylinders.

Dissident Republicans breached security at a Northern Ireland military base yesterday, apparently coming close to blowing up army sleeping quarters. Only a small explosion took place, when a timing unit went off at 3am, causing minor damage and no injuries. It did not trigger off approximately 15kg of home-made explosives packed into three gas cylinders.

But the incident, involving a breach of the perimeter fence of Shackleton Barracks at Ballykelly, Co Londonderry, was seen as a serious security incident. A telephone caller claiming to represent the Continuity IRA later claimed responsibility for the attack.

The bombers, who had made their way into the large base through the grounds of an adjoining Protestant church, were said to have been disturbed as they attempted to assemble the device.

The Continuity IRA are a small, renegade group of republicans who broke away from the mainstream IRA some years ago. They have never declared a ceasefire and regard the peace process as a sell-out. They are believed to have a small presence in nearby Londonderry. The organisation is also separate from the Real IRA, whose bomb killed 29 people in Omagh in 1998, but security sources believe their grassroots members co-operate and possibly overlap.

An army spokesman said: "This is lethal stuff. It just beggars belief that at a time when all right-thinking people are working to ensure that the peace which people in Northern Ireland have enjoyed for the last couple of years continues, there are still vicious, murderous people who are prepared to try and kill people like this."

Ulster Unionist MP Ken Maginnis said the explosion underlined the need for disarmament. "All of these incidents vindicate those who want ... an early start to decommissioning." Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, meanwhile, called for supporters of the Good Friday agreement to campaign for the revival of the Belfast assembly and other institutions.

Comments