Britain rejects IRA statement blaming police for casualties


LONDON -- Scotland Yard angrily rejected yesterday the Irish Republican Army's claims that police were to blame for the death and injuries in Monday's bomb explosion at Victoria Station because they failed to respond to a telephoned warning.

Forty minutes before the explosion, a caller with an Irish accent told the London Transport Travel Center that bombs had been placed at all mainline stations.

Police decided that the warning -- one of many received daily -- was too vague and too late to sound a public alarm.

The IRA said that decision was "cynical . . . and directly responsible for the casualties at Victoria."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "For the terrorists to blame the police for their own outrages is particularly galling."

The Irish Republican Army's current bombing campaign in London has brought the capital to a virtual standstill twice in two weeks but appears to be failing in its aim of producing a crisis of public confidence.

The English, and particularly Londoners, have lived with periodic outbreaks of IRA violence for 20 years. They ride the subway trains daily, confronting notices declaring "Bombs -- be alert." The notices ask anyone seeing an unattended bag to clear other passengers away and notify authorities.

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