Dissidents plant bomb at Ballykelly base

The group calling itself the `Real IRA' tonight said they planted a bomb inside a British Army base.

The `Real IRA' unit broke through fencing and left the explosives strapped to a wheelie-bin at a barracks in County Derry close to the border. Soldiers discovered the bomb this morning at the base in Ballykelly.

It was described as a sophisticated anti-personnel device similar to the bomb which killed British Army construction worker David Caldwell at a nearby Army camp in August 2002.

No injuries were reported in the incident.


Meanwhile, there have been intensive searches by Crown forces in the Republican Ardboe area of County Tyrone.

A PSNI spokesman said the search followed a report by a British army helicopter crew of ``suspicious activity'' in the area.

Meanwhile, a Catholic man has told how he was lucky to escape an attack with his life by the unionist pramilitary UDA.

Liam Hughes was targeted as he walked home with two friends along the Shore Road on the outskirts of north Belfast.

The father-of-one was set upon just yards from the Boundary Bar in an area frequently targeted by unionist paramilitaries.

Two men jumped out of car and attempted to repeatedly stab the 24-year-old with a machete.

As his friends ran to raise the alarm, Mr Hughes was knifed in the hand as he tried to defend himself.

``The blade was easily 10 inches,'' said Mr Hughes. ``They called me a Fenian bastard and one swung at me with the knife.

``The first swipe slashed me. The second time he held it like a dagger to cause more injury, but luckily he missed. ``I covered my face with my hands and tried to block him from hurting me.''

Mr Hughes believes he was saved by a passing car which disrupted the gang.

``I was very scared because it happened near where Paul Denvir was attacked (last year) and he lost his eye,'' he said. I just kept thinking about my family, my young daughter.

``If it wasn't for a passing car it could have been more serious. I think it scared them off and they drove off towards Rathcoole.''

It was the second time in three years that Mr Hughes had been a victim of a sectarian attacked in the same area.

``That road (the Shore Road) -- We call it the death walk.''

Blaming the UDA in Rathcoole for trying to bludgeon him to death, he added: ``I feel very frightened. I was only getting over the trauma of what happened last time. I am very lucky to come out of it alive.


Unionist paramilitaries have also been blamed for a shotgun attack which left a 26-year-old man in hospital.

The man had just arrived to collect a work colleague in Bushmills, County Antrim, when a gunman fired a number of shots into the vehicle.

He is understood to have been hit in the shoulder and arm. The gunman then made his escape on foot .

The 26-year-old was later treated at Coleraine's Causeway Hospital, which said his injuries were not life-threatening.

The attack is believed to be part of a internal feud.

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