British officials are expressing horror at the IRA's latest tactic - taking a family hostage and forcing one member to drive a bomb-laden vehicle into an army checkpoint in Northern Ire-land.

The IRA attacks on checkpoints at the border with the Irish Republic on Wednesday killed six British soldiers and a civilian and injured 35 people.The attacks were expected to dominate Irish-British talks in London Thursday.

Police in the Republic of Ireland questioned eight men Thursday about a series of attacks including IRA bombings in Northern Ireland. A spokesman for the Irish police, the Garda, said six of them would appear in a special criminal court in Dublin on unspecified charges.

But the spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the charges were not in connection with Wednesday's bombings. The eight men were arrested near the border with Northern Ireland after Wednesday's attacks.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Brooke, the British Cabinet member responsible for the province, said on Wednesday that the Irish Republican Army had "sunk to new levels of depravity by using people, whose families have been held hostage, as human bombs."

"It is hard to imagine anything more evil than tying a man into his car laden with explosives and then forcing him to drive to where the bomb was detonated," he told the House of Commons.

In new violence Thursday, the outlawed paramilitary organization Ulster Freedom Fighters claimed responsibility for the killing of a man whose body was found by two schoolgirls in a Protestant housing project in south Belfast.