BELFAST, Northern Ireland – A bomb exploded at a British Army base in Northern Ireland early Thursday, police said, hurting no one but spraying the area with shrapnel.
The explosion was another reminder that dissident Republicans blamed for the attack are still seeking to derail the region's decade-old peace agreement.
Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Inspector Ian Campbell said the bomb was apparently thrown over the gate of a Territorial Army base in North Belfast at about 1 a.m. It exploded inside the compound, causing some damage, and sending shrapnel onto surrounding streets.
"One person was seen running from the area," Campbell said.
Police did not name any suspects or say who they thought was responsible, but local politicians blamed dissident Republican groups. The Irish Republican Army, which fought for three decades to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom, has renounced violence, but several splinter groups still hope to scupper the U.S.-brokered Good Friday peace accord of 1998.
Those groups have stepped up their activities in recent months, shooting to death two British soldiers and a policeman earlier this year, the first such killings since 1998. Last week the dissidents tried to kill a Belfast police officer by planting a bomb under his car. The small blast injured his partner as she sat behind the wheel.
North Belfast Assembly member Alban Maginness of the Social Democratic and Labour Party said the attack was extremely disturbing.
"Those who cause these explosions are not going to achieve anything, whatever their objectives may be, because they have no public support whatsoever and they are not going to get any," he said. "Ordinary people want them off their backs.