A Belfast-born man has admitted to a German court his role in carrying out an attack at a British base in Germany 21 years ago.

The 48-year-old, identified by media as James Corry, was arrested in December at Frankfurt Airport after his extradition by Irish authorities.

He is an alleged former member of a so-called "active service unit" of the Provisional IRA.

A total of 15 hearings have been scheduled for the trial for attempted murder, according to the court in the city of Osnabrueck in northwestern Germany, which did not name the suspect.

The accused and four co-conspirators allegedly parked a small truck outside the city's Quebec Barracks on 28 June 1996 and fired three mortar shells from an improvised launch battery.

Two of them failed to go off and the third hit the driveway of a nearby petrol station.

No one was injured, which the court said was "only due to sheer luck".

In a statement read out by his lawyer in court, the defendant said he helped to install the mortar launcher.

He said the aim was not to kill as many British soldiers as possible, but simply to show that they were not safe even outside the UK.

The suspect also said he is no longer involved in the militant group, but refused to name his accomplices.

One of the perpetrators was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail in 2003 by a court in the city of Celle.