Double petrol bomb attack in N. Ireland

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Two attacks in a Northern Irish town Saturday, which police believe may have been sectarian, sparked calls for tougher punishments for petrol bombers.

One took place outside the home of a Catholic woman, burning out a car, while the home of a Protestant-Catholic couple suffered scorch damage in the other.

No-one was injured in the attacks in Garvagh, in the north of the province.

John Dallat, a local lawmaker in the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly, called for tougher jail terms for petrol bombers.

"The hate laws are totally inadequate to deal with thugs who specialise in filling bottles with petrol and throwing them not knowing if they will burn out a car, burn down a house or murder someone," he said.

"The sell-by date for petrol bombers is long over."

Britain's Home Office interior ministry has set the threat level for Northern Ireland-related terror at "severe" in the province, meaning that a "terrorist attack is highly likely".

Northern Ireland has been largely at peace since a 1998 agreement brought an end to three decades of sectarian violence, but sporadic attacks still occur.

© 2011 AFP

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