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 Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
New inquiry into Claudy bombing
Scene after 1972 Claudy bombing
Nine people were killed in the no-warning bomb
A senior detective is to lead a new investigation into one of Northern Ireland's worst terror attacks.

Claims that a Catholic priest masterminded the IRA's 1972 village bombing of Claudy, near Londonderry, which left nine people dead, will also be investigated as part of Chief Inspector Pat Steele's inquiry.

Police confirmed his appointment on Monday after Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley met Chief Constable Hugh Orde to discuss the attack, and allegations that a priest was in charge of the IRA unit involved.

It has been claimed that the priest broke down and confessed his part in the bombing to another priest shortly after the car bomb attack in which six adults and three children were killed. The priest died of cancer in 1980.

Ian Paisley:
Ian Paisley: "New inquiry will be solace to victims' families"

The authenticity of a letter purporting to have been written by a priest in which the allegations were made has been challenged by the Catholic Church.

The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan has urged the priest to come forward.

Mr Paisley demanded a new investigation when he met Mr Orde on Monday.

He said he asked the chief constable to have his officers question Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness who has admitted being second in command of the IRA in Derry on Bloody Sunday, six months earlier.

Dr Paisley said: "Any intelligence information which to date has not been revealed should be re-examined so that the victims of the tragedy would at least have the solace that action was at last being taken, and that their suffering had not gone in vain."

Both Catholic and Protestant people died when the no-warning bombs exploded in the centre of the village in July 1972.

The IRA never admitted responsibility for the attack.

The youngest victim was eight-year-old Katherine Eakin who was cleaning the windows of the family grocery store when the bombs exploded.

The other people killed were, Joseph McCluskey 39, David Miller aged 60, James McClelland 65, William Temple 16, Elizabeth McElhinney 59, Rose McLaughlin aged 51, Patrick Connolly and Arthur Hone.

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  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Denis Murray
"Some will say the new police investigation is only fair, given the scale of the Bloody Sunday inquiry"
The reinvestigation of an atrocity

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01 Oct 02 | N Ireland
31 Jul 02 | N Ireland
20 Aug 00 | N Ireland
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