Real IRA bomb photo- Exclusive picture news story - Daily Mail newspaper- ***April 2010***

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A passing photographer took a picture of a car bomb that had been set off by the Real IRA.

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Real IRA blasts at the heart of Northern Ireland's Peace Process.


The Real IRA has claimed responsibility for a massive car bomb which rocked the headquarters of MI5 in Northern Ireland.

The blast, shortly after midnight on Sunday, appears to have been timed to coincide with the moment policing and justice powers devolved from Westminster to the Stormont Assembly.

But political leaders in the province have promised dissident republicans will not be allowed to derail the peace process.

Devastation: The scene outside the Palace Barracks in Holywood, County Down, after the taxi was blown up

Devastation: The scene outside the Palace Barracks in Holywood, County Down, after the taxi was blown up

An elderly man was injured in the attack when a hijacked taxi exploded in a fireball outside Palace Barracks in Holywood, County Down, which houses around 400 MI5 officers.

Residents in their night clothes were showered in shrapnel and glass after two blasts  -  the second caused by the vehicle's petrol tank exploding  -  went off as they were being evacuated.

The attack came shortly after the first anniversary of the deaths of two British soldiers gunned down outside a barracks in Antrim.

Just hours after the blast Alliance Party leader David Ford was selected as Northern Ireland's new Justice Minister.

He was chosen as a compromise candidate after separate unionist and nationalist candidates were voted down.

Aftermath: A police forensic expert examines the scene in daylight. The explosion was timed to coincide with the devolution of policing and justice powers from Westminster to the Stormont Assembly

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Shaun Woodward stressed: 'That democratic transition stands in stark contrast to the activity of a criminal few who will not accept the will of the majority of people of Northern Ireland. They have no support anywhere.'

First Minister Peter Robinson said the attack had been aimed at intimidating Assembly members but insisted: 'We are not going back, we will continue to move forward.'

And Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, the Deputy First Minister, said: 'The peace process is rock solid. 

'There are challenges and we have to rise to those challenges, but where people are trying to destroy the peace process, there is not even the remotest prospect of them succeeding.'

But last night Matt Baggott, the Chief Constable of Northern Ireland, warned the threat from dissident republicans remained 'very severe'.

He added: 'There are a significant minority of people who want to take us back to the past in the very worst sense that could bring.'

The bomb was placed in a taxi hijacked in the Ligoniel area of North Belfast shortly before 10pm on Sunday.

Three men held the driver hostage for two hours before he was ordered to drive the vehicle to the base, built in 2006 at a cost of more than 20million.

There was no warning given but suspicious security staff raised the alarm and were evacuating the area when the bomb went off.

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