West London device 'intended to maim and kill'

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The Independent Online

Police lost no time in blaming Thursday night's car bomb explosion on Irish Republican Army dissidents. It was thought the attack was intended to raise political temperatures n Northern Ireland at a crucial juncture in peacemaking efforts there.

"This is a completely reckless terrorist attack," said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Alan Fry, head of Scotland Yard's anti­terrorist branch.

"This device was intended to kill or maim. We believe this attack has been carried out by Irish dissident republican terrorists," he added.

Fry said a warning was phoned in to a doctor's on­call service at 11:33pm. However, it had given imprecise details of the intended location, reminiscent of 1998's Omagh bomb, in which an incorrect warning was given and 29 people died.

The device ­ which contained at least 30 kilograms of homemade explosives ­ went off less than half an hour after the warning was received. Polce were already attempting to clear the area near Ealing Broadway station. The blast blew out windows up to 200 metres away. Witnesses reported seeing smoldering chunks of a destroyed car at the scene of the explosion.

The area was quickly cordoned off, and ambulances and fire engines stood by as police escorted motorists and pedestrians away from the scene.

A year ago, police safely detonated a bomb, believed to have been planted by a dissident Irish group, outside the same station.

Fry said the latest bombing was a "barbaric act."

"It is fortunate indeed that we are not dealing with mass murder and people critically injured," he said.

The blast came a day after Britain published new proposals designed to spur Irish Republican Army disarmament, a long­unfulfilled goal of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord.