Elderly Woman Dies Fleeing IRA Bomb; Explosion in England
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) _ Police cleared a Roman Catholic neighborhood after a half-ton IRA bomb was discovered before dawn Tuesday, and an elderly woman collapsed and died during the evacuation.
Meanwhile, a suspected Irish Republican Army bombing outside London severed a key rail line, snarling commuter traffic but injuring no one. No trains were in the vicinity when a small bomb exploded about 3 a.m. near Woking, 25 miles south of London, authorities said.
The Royal Ulster Constabulary, Northern Ireland’s police force, said homes in the Markets area of central Belfast were evacuated after a 1,000-pound bomb was discovered about 4:30 a.m. The Catholic neighborhood is a common staging post for IRA bomb attacks on the downtown business district.
Several hundred people were evacuated while specialists defused the bomb, hidden in a stolen van parked behind a billboard.
″This bomb was big enough to level half the houses in the Markets and render the other half useless,″ said Dr. Alasdair MacDonnell, a city councilor.
Bridget Glennon, 78, died on her doorstep. Police said she apparently suffered a heart attack.
Although its support comes from the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland, the IRA’s operations in its campaign of violence to reunite the province with Ireland sometimes go awry and kill Catholic civilians.