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The BBC's Denis Murray reports
"It was intended to be lethal"
 real 28k

Monday, 28 February, 2000, 09:16 GMT
Police quiz man about bombing
The blast caused damage but no injuries
The blast caused damage but no injuries
Police are still questioning one man in connection with a bomb attack on a British Army base in Northern Ireland.

No-one was hurt in the explosion at Shackleton Army barracks at Ballykelly near Londonderry on Friday, which is home to battalions from the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Royal Irish Regiment.

A second man who was being held in connection with the incident was released without charge.

A caller to the BBC claiming to represent the Continuity IRA said it was behind the incident. No codeword was given.

In a response to the attack, security measures have been stepped up at other military bases in the province, with vehicles entering being more rigorously searched.

Device partially exploded

Only part of the device exploded near the dormitories at 0300 BST. A number of windows were broken.

It is understood the bombers were disturbed as they were assembling the device and fled the scene.

Police said the explosion was caused by a Mark 19 timer unit.

Attack may have been launched from grounds of local church
Attack may have been launched from grounds of local church
They said the unit would have been used to trigger three gas cylinders packed with 15kgs of home made explosives discovered nearby.

They were made safe by army bomb disposal experts.

The RUC sub-divisional commander leading the investigation into the attack has led a wave of condemnation.

Superintendent Noel McClenaghan said: "I utterly condemn those who carried out this attack which could so easily have led to loss of life."

Attack condemned

Church of Ireland minister Reverend Harold Given, whose church flanks the barracks, said the community was shocked by the attack.

He said a house near the base which was occupied by a young family had been damaged in the blast, which he said, brought back memories of a terrorist outrage in the village in 1982.


Reverend Harold Given: Condemned attack
"We deplore the fact this has happened again in our little village of Ballykelly, " he said.

Mr Given also condemned the apparent use of church grounds in the attack.

"Terrorists have used our church grounds on two occasions. It's disgusting that they could use church grounds to mount such an attack without thought of anyone. Church ground has been violated by terrorists," he said.

Unionist politicians said the attack was an attempt at mass murder.

East Londonderry Ulster Unionist MP, William Ross, said: "It was in an area where death and injury would have been caused had it been brought to its designed purpose."


Terrorists have used our church grounds on two occasions. It's disgusting that they could use church grounds to mount such an attack without thought of anyone

Rev Harold Given


Ulster Unionist Party security spokesman Ken Maginnis MP also said the attack underlined the need for disarmament.

"There have now been a series of disturbing incidents, clearly intended to intimidate government.

"All these incidents vindicate those who want to achieve an end to violence, the threat of violence and an early start to decommissioning," He said.

Londonderry Democratic Unionist Party assembly member Gregory Campbell called for security to be increased in Northern Ireland.

"There cannot and must not be any demilitarisation in advance of a certainty that this war, this violence, is over," he said.

In 1982, the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) bombed the Droppin' Well pub disco in Ballykelly killing 17 people - 11 soldiers stationed at the Shackelton base and six local civilians.

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See also:

06 Feb 00 |  Northern Ireland
Outrage at bombing
06 Feb 00 |  Northern Ireland
Warning over new terrorist threat
18 Nov 99 |  Northern Ireland
New crackdown on dissidents
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