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26 June 1997 Edition

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Phoney ceasefire exposed

By Mick Naughton.

Loyalist spokesperson Billy Hutchinson claimed that a car bombing that almost killed two nationalists in Belfast on Saturday was probably the work of loyalists operating under the Combined Loyalist Military Command. Hutchinson maintained that the bombing had all the hallmarks of a ``measured response'' to the killings of two RUC men in Lurgan last week.

The under-car bomb went off in the city's university area less than 48 hours after a loyalist bomb left under the car of Sinn Féin Councillor James McCarry of North Antrim was defused by the British Army.

``There is no doubt that Saturday's car bomb attack is the work of loyalists,'' said South Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Sean Hayes. ``The British government must now accept that the loyalist ceasefire is well and truly over. In recent weeks loyalists have planted five major bombs outside Sinn Féin offices, two car bombs, one of which exploded last Saturday afternoon, fire bombed the homes of prison guards and shot a number of people in their own areas.''

The car bomb which detonated on Saturday afternoon exploded underneath the Ford Escort as a former POW and a friend drove down Claremont Street to the Lisburn Road. Both managed to run from the car before the petrol tank went on fire. A passer-by was also taken to the nearby City Hospital suffering from burns and shock.

On Thursday Councillor James McCarry found a 1.4lb bomb containing commercial explosives underneath his car parked outside his home near Ballycastle. The area around the outskirts of the coastal town was evacuated as British army technical officers disarmed the device.

It was the second bomb attack in the area within two weeks. In the first attack two incendiary devices were discovered outside neighbouring homes of a Catholic family in Ballycastle. It was the second time the family had been targeted.

McCarry has called for increased vigilance among nationalists living in the area, ``neighbours should look out for each other in this dangerous period as we move into what is set to mirror last years Orange Order antics.''

This latest attack follows several others on McCarry, including one when the UVF threw a concrete block with a death threat attached through a window of his home. In 1992 his election agent, Malachy Carey, a former republican POW, was shot dead.
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