Dissident Republicans blamed for mortar attack

Tuesday 23 January 2001 15.56

Dissident Republicans are being blamed for a mortar attack on the British Army's Ebrington barracks in Derry early today. One mortar landed inside the perimeter fence of the base after being fired from a van parked in May Street. No one was injured, but hundreds were evacuated from their homes in the area. RUC Superintendent Ian Hamill said that it was fortunate no one was killed. The SDLP leader, John Hume, has condemned the attack. The MP for Foyle said that the people carrying out these attacks were the enemies of society.

A major security operation was initiated to secure the van and the area is likely to remain sealed off for most of the day. The Ebrington barracks was targeted last year, with dissident Republicans suspected of lowering a 5lb bomb over the perimeter wall of the base, which exploded and destroyed a hut within the grounds. Dissident Republicans are again being blamed for this attack which follows the discovery of a bomb outside the RUC barracks in the nearby village of Claudy two days ago and the discovery of an 1,100lb bomb in Armagh last week. The attack has been condemned by the DUP Minister and local MLA, Gregory Campbell, as absolutely appalling.