Dublin: Irish Republican Army dissidents
detonated a bomb in a hijacked taxi on Tuesday outside a police
base in the Northern Ireland city of Londonderry, damaging
buildings but wounding no one despite the attackers`
inaccurate warning, police said.
It was the fifth car bomb planted this year by IRA
splinter groups trying to undermine Northern Ireland`s
3-year-old government coalition of British Protestants and
Irish Catholics. Dissidents also fired a homemade mortar shell
at the same Londonderry police station in May but it failed to
None of those attacks since February, targeting police
stations, a courthouse and the British spy agency MI5, has
injured anyone seriously.
Londonderry`s police commander, Chief Superintendent
Stephen Martin, said two masked men ordered a cabbie at
gunpoint to drive into the city`s Bogside district, a
traditional IRA power base, shortly before 200 GMT. There they
loaded a bomb into the car`s trunk.
"They repeatedly pointed a gun at him and warned him, if
he did not do as they instructed, he would be shot," Martin
He said the cabbie parked his car outside Strand Road
police station, the city`s police headquarters just north of
the Bogside, and the gunmen ran away. The driver then warned
police he`d been forced to park a bomb outside.
Martin said police almost simultaneously received a coded
telephone warning from IRA dissidents warning that the bomb
would detonate 45 minutes later. However, he said, it exploded
less than 23 minutes later while officers were still
evacuating nearby night spots and rousing people from their
beds in nearby apartments.
The blast destroyed the vehicle but caused little damage
to the police base, which has bullet-proof windows and a
car-bomb barrier around its perimeter. Heavier damage was
caused to fast-food outlets across the street. They had
windows and fixtures destroyed.
Today`s device was much smaller than a typical IRA car
bomb. Police said the attackers lifted it by hand into the
trunk of the hijacked vehicle. Full-fledged IRA car bombs
contain several hundred pounds of explosives packed into the
entire rear of the vehicle.