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Police probe blast at NI army base

BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- An explosion at a military training camp in Northern Ireland is being treated as "terrorist related," police have said.

The blast at the training ground near Magilligan Prison in County Londonderry caused serious injuries to a civilian Ministry of Defence employee.

The 48-year-old male victim suffered serious lower body and arm injuries when the device exploded at about 7am GMT on Friday.

He was taken to the Causeway Hospital at Coleraine where he underwent emergency abdominal surgery.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman told CNN: "Police are now treating this incident as terrorist related -- they believe terrorism was involved."

The spokesman said the victim, who has not been named, was in "a serious condition with injuries to his stomach, lower body, and arms."

Superintendent Mervyn Hood, police commander for the Limavady area, told reporters the terrorists had been intent on mass murder.

He said: "I utterly condemn this despicable, savage attack. This device was designed to kill and maim.

"Those planting such a device must have known the horrific consequence of their actions."

An army spokesman said the area, close to a local beauty spot, was used by members of the public and the attack could have led to many civilians losing their lives.

"This is a cowardly and evil act that will be condemned by all right-thinking people.

"Magilligan training area is not only used by soldiers but by young cadets, the Territorial Army, civilian rifle clubs and local farmers grazing their livestock," he said.

Magilligan, near Northern Ireland's northern coast, was the scene of a violent civil rights march in 1969.

The MP for East Londonderry, Gregory Campbell, said he also believed the blast was the work of terrorists.

"It may not necessarily have been planted last night. This is very open territory and it could have been planted some time ago," he told the UK Press Asociation.

He added: "It's the latest in a long line of incidents in this area. There have been attacks on Ballykelly army base, Ebrington army base and Claudy police station.

"We have to hope and pray that the person who has been injured fully recovers."

SDLP Norther Ireland Assembly member Arthur Doherty, who lives a mile from the scene of the blast, condemned those responsible.

"The people that carried out this attack will achieve nothing by their violent actions. Violence and acts of terrorism have caused only pain and suffering to the people of this island."


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