N. Ireland bomb accused appears in court

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A father of four appeared in court on Friday charged over a huge car bomb attack outside a police station in Northern Ireland.

Heavily armed police stood guard outside the courthouse in Londonderry, the province's second city, as Philip O'Donnell, 42, faced 12 charges.

He denied all the counts, including causing an explosion likely to endanger life or causing serious injury to property, possessing explosives and hijacking a taxi.

A police detective told the court the defendant had previous convictions for hijacking and possessing an offensive weapon.

O'Donnell was refused bail and was remanded in custody. He will appear in court again on September 2 via videolink.

The charges follow the car bombing outside the police station in Londonderry last week, blamed on dissident republicans, which caused damage but no casualties.

Republican groups opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process have been blamed for a series of car bombings or attempted car bombings which targeted an army major, a policewoman and a civilian police worker in recent days.

Although no one has been killed in the attacks, they have fuelled fears of a return to fatalities in Northern Ireland.

© 2010 AFP

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