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1975: Bomb blasts rock Northern Ireland

VIDEO : IRA bombings bring fears of all-out terror campaign

A day of IRA bombings across Northern Ireland has placed the ceasefire it declared seven months ago in serious doubt.

No-one was injured in the first two attacks at 0900 BST on Great Victoria Street in central Belfast.

But a further 15 blasts during the next few hours - including the blowing up of a hijacked train - injured 12 people, two seriously.

The Belfast division of the Provisional IRA issued a statement saying it was behind all the attacks.

'Organised torture'

Officially the Republican faction is still bound by its ceasefire, but yesterday a spokesman for the organisation said members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary would be considered legitimate targets.

The IRA said this was in response to increased security activity, the "organised torture" of suspects and a number of army and police raids on known Republican strongholds.

The statement - issued by the Republican Press Centre - protested about the "attempted murders of innocent citizens" by members of the army and the police.

"Those who think that the Belfast brigade will allow this harassment to continue should be warned by past events - we consider it alright to take retaliatory action," it said.

Two of today's attacks targeted the security forces - one on a police post in Dungannon, which seriously injured two RUC officers, and another on an army border post near Newry.

A spokesman for Stormont Castle said there would be no security clampdown in the wake of the bombings.

But Northern Ireland Secretary Merlyn Rees said the attacks made a "mockery and travesty" of the ceasefire.

In Context
The IRA ceasefire was active throughout most of 1975, but by the official end of the truce in January 1976 it had been severely damaged by Republican attacks.

In September the group also renewed its mainland bombing campaign with the bombing of the London Hilton on 5 September.

On 17 July 2002 the IRA issued an apology for all civilians and "non-combatants" killed and injured during its campaign of violence.

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