Belfast Telegraph

RUC base target of grenade attack as Real IRA strike

By Ciaran O'Neill

FEARS were growing today of a suspected increase in activity of a Real IRA cell operating in the North West.

FEARS were growing today of a suspected increase in activity of a Real IRA cell operating in the North West.

In the latest attack being linked to dissident republicans, a grenade was thrown at Strand Road RUC station in Derry city centre at 10pm on Friday.

The grenade fell short of its intended target and exploded at the junction of Queen Street and Asylum Road, damaging two parked cars and a number of surrounding houses. No one was injured.

Houses in the area were evacuated during a follow-up search and elderly people living in a nearby sheltered housing development were also forced to move to another part of the building.

Local residents were allowed to return to their homes at 1am on Saturday.

This was the latest in a series of bomb attacks in the North West being blamed on the Real IRA.

Security sources have indicated that the terrorist group is actively recruiting in the region Earlier this month, a huge car bomb was defused at Prehen Road in Londonderry after a three-day security alert.

The bombers had faked a car accident in a bid to lure the security forces to the scene.

Attacks have also taken place in recent months on an RUC station in Claudy and Ebrington Army barracks in Derry.

RUC Inspector Nicholas McCullagh condemned those behind the weekend attack.

"We are very concerned at the scale of attacks on police and security bases at present.

"The local commander has taken recognisance of the attacks and murder bids in this area and security has been stepped up," said Inspector McCullagh.

DUP security spokesman Gregory Campbell said he was also concerned at the increase in the number of attacks being linked to dissident republicans.

"At some point, these people, in their own terms, are going to get lucky," said Mr Campbell.

SDLP Councillor John Kerr, who lives near the Derry police station, said it was a miracle no one was killed or seriously injured in Friday night's attack.

Belfast Telegraph

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