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The BBC's Tom Coulter
"No organisation has yet admitted carrying out the bombing"
 real 56k

SDLP MP Eddie McGrady:
"I am concerned this could be a start of further terrorist attacks"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 1 November, 2000, 16:45 GMT
Dissidents 'behind police station blast'

Army bomb disposal experts searched the attack scene
Police in Northern Ireland are blaming dissident republicans for a bomb attack on a police station which has left an officer critically injured.

The explosion occurred as the officer and a colleague were walking through the main gates of Castlewellan RUC Station in County Down, shortly after 0300 GMT on Wednesday.

The officer, who is in his 40s, is said to be in a "critical condition" in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital having sustained severe leg injuries.

He is a full-time police reservist with three children.

His male colleague was treated for shock and later discharged.

The police said it was still to early to determine the type of device used in the bombing. There are unconfirmed reports that the bomb was hidden in a traffic cone.

Oppose ceasefire

It follows a number of dissident republican attacks on security bases recently.

The Real IRA and Continuity IRA oppose the peace process and the ceasefire by the mainstream Provisional IRA.

RUC Chief Inspector William Dornan said the latest attack was "totally reckless and unwarranted, not only on officers but the community as a whole".

He said the officers had been returning to the station from a "well-earned break after an extremely busy Halloween night when the attack happened".

Security minister Adam Ingram said he "utterly condemned the attack".

"There is a threat of violence still around and that is why we still have a very high security profile," he said.

South Down MP Eddie McGrady, of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, also condemned the attack.

Eddie McGrady:
Eddie McGrady: "Attack intended to disrupt peace process"

He said the RUC station was a "soft target selected to cause maximum disruption to the peace process".

"This is one of the few attacks on security forces since the ceasefire and no doubt is to destabilise the political situation."

Ulster Unionist assemblyman Dermot Nesbitt said the threat of "politically motivated" violence had to be eliminated.

"What I want to see is this violence over with, done with, gone for good," he said.

'Cowardly and evil'

He said the nature of the attack, with a trigger apparently activated as the RUC officers returned to the station, was a "worrying development".

Jim Wells of the Democratic Unionist Party said he "unreservedly condemned" the attack.

The bomb attack was condemned as "sinister" by Irish foreign minister Brian Cowen.

He said the incident was a "cowardly and evil act designed to bring about death and injury and more misery to families in Northern Ireland".

"It was also an attack on the democratic process at a time when representative politicians are striving to reach accommodation on the way forward."

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See also:

20 Oct 00 | Northern Ireland
Dissident threat reviewed at talks
22 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Dissident republicans: Threat to peace
13 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Bomb attack on police station
13 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Bombs placed in army base
11 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Dissidents blamed for attacks
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