LONDON -- A bomb planted in a garden bed exploded at a British army installation Monday, injuring seven people and causing extensive damage to a building and parked cars. The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the blast.
A spokesman at Scotland Yard said the explosion occurred just before 10 a.m. at the Institute of Army Education in London's suburban Eltham, where 50 army officers and civilians were working.
Experts said the bomb was apparently fabricated from between 5 and 10 pounds of Semtex, a Czechoslovakian plastic explosive favored by the Irish Republican Army. It was buried in a garden at the entrance of the institute and triggered by a timing device.
The IRA said it carried out the attack in a statement issued from an office in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Peter Bottomley, member of Parliament for Eltham, condemned the bombers.
'They are people who ought to be extinct, because their means don't achieve as much as democracy does,' Bottomley said. 'There has been a peaceful revolution all over Eastern Europe. Most other issues in Western Europe have been resolved through giving up the bomb and the bullet.'
The blast extensively damaged the two-story institute, blowing out windows, and wrecked several cars parked nearby.
Three men and three women, all civilians, were taken to a nearby hospital in Greenwich. A seventh person did not require hospital treatment.
'The conditions of all six is good,' said Alan Perkins, general manager at Brook Hospital. 'They were suffering from shock and minor cuts and abrasions. We are not expected to retain any more than one.'
Michael Ward, who lives near the institute, which provides advanced education for army personnel, said he heard the blast.
'There was a loud explosion, which was obviously a high explosive sound. I went to look and I found that damage had occurred at building diagonally opposite my house,' Ward told the BBC.
Investigators and bomb experts sealed off the building and surrounding area to search for additional explosive devices and evidence.
Authorities in Britain and Northern Ireland recently warned that intelligence reports suggest the outlawed IRA has built up manpower and supplies of weapons for a renewed bombing campaign.
The IRA has used violence aimed at ousting British troops from mostly Protestant Northern Ireland and uniting it with mostly Catholic Irish Republic.
In the most deadly IRA attack in England in recent months, 11 Royal Marines bandsmen were killed when their barracks were bombed in Deal, southeast of London, in September.