PRECEDE London Blasts Kill 4-Year-Old, Injure Scores of Shoppers
WARRINGTON, England (AP) _ The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility Sunday for two bombs planted outside stores in a northwest England town that killed a 4-year-old child and injured more than 50 shoppers.
The IRA, in a statement distributed to Dublin news media, expressed ″profound regret″ at the consequences of the explosions, but blamed British authorities who, it said, failed to act on warnings.
Police said a man with an Irish accent phoned a crisis line about 30 minutes before the blasts Saturday saying bombs had been planted in Liverpool, 15 miles away.
Two half-pound devices were planted in steel garbage cans outside a drugstore in Warrington. The bombs sent shrapnel ripping through a street thronged with people, many out shopping for Mother’s Day, which Britain celebrates on the third Sunday in March.
In the past year, the IRA has stepped up its bomb attacks in Britain as part of its campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland.
Police identified the dead toddler as Jonathan Ball, who was shopping for a Mother’s Day present with a neighbor.
Fifty-six people were taken to the hospital with injuries, and five, most of them teen-agers, were in critical or serious condition, said Arfan Saleh, a doctor at Warrington Hospital.
Tim Parry, 12, was reported in critical condition with head wounds.
″They are inhuman, wiping out a life and ruining a family,″ his father, Colin Parry, said, his voice breaking. ″They are taking away the boy we loved.″
″I have got a son who is not going to live, a good-looking 12-year-old boy pulled apart ... and for what?″ he asked.
On Feb. 26, the IRA bombed a natural-gas works in Warrington and shot a police officer. Two Irishmen were arrested shortly afterward and face charges for those attacks. Police have speculated that Saturday’s bombs were in retaliation for the arrests.