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Saturday, January 16, 1999 Published at 17:56 GMT

Police probe Belfast petrol bombs

Petrol bombs have often been used in past battles with the RUC

Police in Northern Ireland are continuing investigations after an RUC station was attacked.

A stockpile of petrol bombs has been found in West Belfast following a second night of attacks on an RUC base.

The 31 primed bombs and 12 paint bombs were seized during a search operation mounted in the Horne Drive area after a petrol bomb attack on Woodbourne RUC station late on Friday night.

The RUC said officers also found a 12-ft long plank of wood studded with nails designed to puncture tyres of moving cars on the road.

Continuity IRA blamed

Police are still questioning eight people after Thursday night's gun attack on the same RUC, though no-one was hurt.

It is believed the incident was orchestrated by the breakaway Continuity IRA, which is opposed to the peace process and is the only paramilitary group that has not declared a ceasefire.

During an undercover security operation on Friday, a group of men and women were arrested after police swooped on cars near the scene of the attack and later raided homes.

Members of the RUC's crack surveillance unit E4A were involved in the surveillance operation, according to security sources.

A high-powered AK47 rifle, handgun and ammunition were also seized and the suspects were taken to Castlereagh holding centre in east Belfast for questioning.

More punishment beatings

Meanwhile paramilitary-style punishment beatings continue unabated in Belfast. A 24-year-old man was shot and injured as he walked along an alley at Mountvernon Park in the north of the city. He was forced to the ground by a group of masked men and shot once through the calf.

Another 24-year-old had both his ankles broken when he was beaten with clubs in a similar attack at Stanfield Row in the nationalist Markets area of Belfast.

The human rights group Families Against Intimidation and Terror blamed loyalist terrorists for the shooting and the IRA for the beating.

Its spokesman, Vincent McKenna, condemned the attacks. "These attacks show quite clearly that the IRA and loyalists terrorists within the peace process are determined to continue carrying out human rights abuses on a daily basis and laugh in the face of those people who voted for an end to such abuses in the Good Friday Agreement," he said.

Referring to the RUC Chief Constable's confirmation that terrorists linked to the peace process were responsible for the attacks, he said the UK Government should act to save the peace agreement "by removing those people who continue to co-ordinate murder and mutilation on our streets".

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