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The BBC's Stephen Cape
"London was on guard against more bomb attacks"
 real 28k

Former IRA member, Sean O'Callaghan
"It's likely to be the IRA"
 real 28k

Saturday, 3 June, 2000, 05:33 GMT 06:33 UK
Bomb police make taxi appeal
Police
Police at roadblocks are looking for witnesses
Anti-terrorist police are still trying to trace two black taxis seen on Hammersmith Bridge just before Thursday's bomb attack.

Officers said the drivers and passengers may have information vital to the investigation into the west London explosion.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack but there are fears dissident Irish republicans opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process may be involved.


Bridge
The blast tore a hole in a girder
Police have been questioning motorists and pedestrians at roadblocks across west London in an effort to find witnesses.

The first cab was seen on the bridge at 0245 BST. It drove from north to south, where it was observed dropping off a male passenger.

It is thought the car then turned around and drove back to the north side of the Thames.

The second taxi was seen on the bridge at 0340 BST. It drove over from the north side, and stopped briefly on the south side to drop a passenger and then continued towards Barnes on the south side.

The high-explosive device exploded at 0430 BST, damaging the bridge but not causing any injuries.

Witnesses

The head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch, Alan Fry, said that as a result of inquiries on the streets, "a number of witnesses" had been traced.

Security in the capital has been stepped up as police confirmed the sophisticated device comprised between 1kg and 2kg of high explosive and was fully detonated.


London
Hammersmith Bridge could be closed for weeks
It was attached to a girder underneath the south end of the bridge. Forensic investigations at the bridge are continuing.

Mr Fry urged Londoners to be vigilant amid fears of further bomb attacks. "I am asking people that if they see a suspect package to contact us immediately on 999," he said.

He refused to comment on the possible link with Irish terrorists but said: "clearly they would be a line of inquiry".

Hammersmith Bridge has been targeted twice before by terrorists, the last time in 1996 when what was then the most powerful Semtex bomb used by the IRA on the mainland, failed to detonate.

'Deplorable'

London Mayor Ken Livingstone condemned those responsible for the bomb.

"The bomb is a deplorable outrage. I urge Londoners to do everything possible to assist the police with their inquiries," he said.

Ulster Unionist deputy leader John Taylor said dissident republicans trying to destabilise the peace process could have been behind the blast.

Terrorism expert David George agreed that the attack was most probably the work of the Real/Continuity IRA, which broke from the Provisionals three years ago.

If dissident republicans were involved, then this would be the first time they have launched an attack in mainland Britain.

Police have appealed for witnesses to contact 0800 789 321.

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See also:

01 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Dissidents factions threatening peace
02 Jun 00 | UK
Police fear more bombings
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