Booby-trap car bomb targeted soldier in N. Ireland: reports

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A booby-trap bomb has been found under the car of an army officer in Northern Ireland, media reported Wednesday, the latest incident linked to republicans disillusioned with the peace process.

Army bomb disposal experts are still working to make the device safe, police said, while declining to confirm reports that the bomb targeted an army major in Bangor, northeast of Belfast, but had fallen off the car when it was found.

The incident comes the day after a taxi driver was forced to drive a car bomb to a police station at gunpoint. Dissident republican group the Real IRA (Irish Republican Army) called in a warning just before it went off.

That prompted a senior police officer to warn it was "only a matter of time" before people were seriously injured or killed by dissidents in Northern Ireland, where a landmark peace deal in 1998 largely ended three decades of unrest.

A police officer was seriously injured in a booby-trap car bomb attack in January, while last year two British soldiers and a policeman were murdered.

In the latest incident, a device was found outside a house just before 8:00am (0700 GMT) Wednesday, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.

"The alert is ongoing," a PSNI spokeswoman added. "It's a viable device and a number of controlled explosions have been carried out. It hasn't been rendered safe".

The failed attack was sharply condemned by Peter Weir, a lawmaker in the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly with the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party.

"What we are dealing with here is a crazed bunch of fanatics who will stop at nothing in their attempts to drag Northern Ireland back in to violence and bloodshed," he said. "They must be crushed."

© 2010 AFP

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