Bombing at N Irish cop shop
Belfast - A car bomb exploded outside a police station in Northern Ireland, injuring two people, days after the final elements of the peace process for the province were put in place.
The device blew up at the Newtownhamilton police station late on Thursday night after a warning was telephoned to a Belfast hospital, police said.
A car bomb was defused at the same spot in the county of Armagh 10 days ago.
The Continuity IRA, which opposes the peace process and last year killed a police officer in the bloodiest three days in Northern Ireland in more than a decade, claimed responsibility for planting that bomb.
A day earlier the Real IRA had detonated a bomb near the Northern Ireland offices of Britain's domestic spy agency MI5. The dissident republican group also opposes the peace process and shot dead two British soldiers last year, two days before the killing of the police officer.
The attacks were apparently timed to coincide with the transfer of police and justice powers from London and the appointment of Northern Ireland's first justice minister under a devolution process launched by a 1998 peace deal between pro-Irish Republicans and pro-British Unionists.
Police said they were investigating reports of shots being fired before Thursday's bomb explosion, which shattered windows and forced homes to be evacuated and residents given refuge in a high school.
Police said the two people hurt had been taken to hospital but their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
"This bomb sends a message that the peace process needs to be defended," Conor Murphy of the Sinn Fein party said of Thursday's explosion in Armagh.
In a separate incident, a pipe bomb exploded outside a house in Coalisland in County Tyrone, shattering windows but injuring no one, police said.