An explosion Saturday ripped through a hospital's tightly guarded military wing, killing two people and injuring 10. The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Ulster Constabulary said that a bomb made from plastic explosive apparently was placed in an underground corridor connecting the civilian part of Musgrave Park Hospital to the military wing.
The blast killed two members of the Royal Army Medical Corps working in an office. Seven people in the military wing and three in the civilian wing were hurt. Among the injured was a 5-year-old girl, who was badly burned.
A man called a Belfast radio station and said that the IRA had planted a bomb in the hospital basement. "We planted the bomb in a bunker in the officers' mess. We breached high security," the caller said.
The hospital was badly damaged. Walls were blown out, ceilings shattered, a staircase collapsed and an operating room was destroyed. In the newly opened children's wing, shattered glass, debris and broken toys littered the floors.
Fire crews rushed from all over Belfast to the scene of devastation, but rescuers working in torrential rain were forced back at one stage by fears of ruptured gas mains.
Musgrave Park is the only hospital in Northern Ireland with a military wing. It is heavily secured, surrounded by a barbed-wire fence and patrolled by armed guards.
So far this year, 73 people have been killed in Northern Ireland's political and sectarian conflict.