By Anne Cadwallader
BELFAST — RUC sources are warning of more attacks from the so-called Real IRA after two booby-trap bombs were found at a British Army barracks in County Derry and a mortar was fired at Armagh police station within a 24-hour period on Sept. 12-13.
Last Wednesday, a mortar bomb was fired at Armagh RUC station, landing on a car park and damaging some vehicles but causing no injury. Two 80-pound booby trap bombs at Magilligan British Army training camp could also have caused widespread loss of life.
A shard of metal from the Armagh bomb bounced off a wall near a pregnant woman. A schoolboy also narrowly escaped injury as a piece of debris brought down the branch of a tree in the city’s historic Mall area.
The mortar, a so-called "barracks buster" of the type developed by the IRA, was fired from the back of a van parked on a building site for a hotel. Children were making their way to school and people were going to work at the time of the attack.
Chief Inspector Derek Williamson of the RUC said it was "an attack of clearly murderous intent."
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Earlier, a soldier escaped uninjured at a training center when an 80-pound bomb failed to detonate. A second bomb of the same size was found unexploded close by. Both attacks were assumed to have been the work of the Real IRA.
The British Northern secretary, Peter Mandelson, promised that dissident republicans would not get their way. "We are going to bring this sort of activity to a halt, no matter how long it takes," he said.
Security sources believe that members of the Real IRA have been preparing to carry out a series of attacks across the North.