Belfast Telegraph

Real IRA blamed for bomb attacks

The Real IRA has been blamed for attacks on the homes of two police personnel in Co Londonderry.

A senior Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) commander said he was in "no doubt" the dissident republican group had targeted the policeman and police doctor near the village of Claudy.

An explosive device detonated outside the front door of the officer's house, while an army bomb disposal team was deployed to make safe a viable bomb left in the garden of the forensic medical officer (FMO).

Three men - two aged 36 and the other 28 - were arrested in Derry city on Wednesday morning in connection with the incidents. A fourth person - a 36-year-old woman - was detained in connection with suspected dissident republican activities in Derry on Wednesday afternoon.

The policeman's home on the Ervey Road was unoccupied at the time of the explosion but he returned to find the front of his property damaged.

The GP of 40 years standing and his wife, who live in the Learmount Road area, were evacuated from their home after a proactive police search discovered the device in the early hours.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin said he was confident he knew which dissident group was responsible. "I am absolutely certain this was the work of the Real IRA," he said.

Asked if the officer had been targeted because he was a Catholic, Mr Martin said: "I do not know the answer to that, but I have no doubt that they targeted the police officer because he is a police officer and because these small anti-peace groups are trying to drag us back.

"As to why they targeted the doctor, I cannot begin to understand how a man who has been a General Practitioner, a man who has given 40 years of service to the community, is deemed to be a target.

"Right throughout the troubles, doctors of this nature were regarded as neutral, as independent, and were never attacked. I think this is indicative of the recklessness and desperation of these small anti-peace groups when they can find some rationale for targeting a doctor."

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