IRA Suspected In Bombing Of Home Used By Conservative Party Figure
HARTLEY WINTNEY, England (AP) _ A bomb blew a hole in the recently vacated home of a leading Conservative Party figure, and police said Wednesday that they suspected the IRA carried out the attack.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said the explosion Tuesday night at West Green House - an 18th century mansion in this southern English village - was ″very disturbing.″
No one was hurt in the blast, and no organization immediately claimed responsibility.
The Irish Republican Army, in a new offensive aimed mainly at British targets outside Northern Ireland, has killed seven people in the past few weeks and mounted half a dozen attacks in England.
The explosion tore a three-foot hole in the front of the mansion, which until three weeks ago was the home of Lord McAlpine, a former deputy chairman and treasurer of the Conservative Party and major fund-raiser.
McAlpine, 48, is a close associate of Mrs. Thatcher and neighbors said she has been a guest at West Green House, 55 miles from London.
″We are keeping an open mind,″ Hampshire police Detective Superintendent Alan Wheeler told a news conference. ″But because of the size of the explosion there is only one organization I know of which causes such explosions, and that is the IRA.″
McAlpine was on a target list of more than 100 prominent Britons, including judges, found in a police raid 18 months ago on a apartment used by IRA bomb- makers in south London.
The mainly Roman Catholic IRA is fighting to end British rule in the predominantly Protestant province of Northern Ireland and unite it with the republic of Ireland.
Police said at first they suspected animal rights extremists, but they focused later on the IRA. McAlpine’s interests include a zoo in Broome, Australia.