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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, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
McGuinness condemns Hammersmith bombers
Police
Police at roadblocks are looking for witnesses
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has warned dissident republicans not to start attacking the British mainland following the Hammersmith Bridge bombing.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the education minister in Northern Ireland's newly reinstated power-sharing executive, condemned the bombers who damaged the west London bridge on Thursday.


Bridge
The blast tore a hole in a girder
No-one has admitted responsibility for the attack but there are fears that dissident republicans opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process may have been involved.

The high-explosive device damaged the bridge but did not cause any injuries.

Mr McGuinness said all nationalists and republicans should respect the wishes of the people to abide by the Good Friday Agreement peace accord.

Sinn Fein was "totally and absolutely opposed" to the bombing, he added.

"The overwhelming majority of nationalists and republicans support the Sinn Fein leadership's efforts, support the efforts of the SDLP and the Irish government.

"I think people who are involved in that type of behaviour should respect what the people want and stop their behaviour immediately," he said.

Police search for cabdrivers

Police investigating the blast are still trying to trace two taxi drivers in the hope they may have clues which could lead to the bombers.

Witnesses have told police that two black cabs dropped passengers near the scene in the hours before the explosion on Thursday morning.

The blast shattered windows in homes close to the bridge and caused traffic chaos in the area.

Security in the capital has been stepped up as police confirmed the sophisticated device contained between 1kg and 2kg of high explosives 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.

The police have urged members of the public to be vigilant and have not ruled out the possibility that the attack was carried out by dissident republicans.

Scotland Yard said its officers were investigating a claim made to a media outlet in Belfast that the blast was the work of the dissident republican Continuity IRA.

However, it is understood no identity-confirming code word was used.

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.

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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