The IRA killed a Royal Navy officer with a bomb planted in his car that exploded near a Roman Catholic section of Belfast, where some residents were said to jeer as the car burned.

Monday night's attack came three days after eight British soldiers were slain by another IRA bomb.Police said the victim was the only casualty when the bomb exploded and the car burst into flames as it crossed Queen's Bridge in east Belfast near a stronghold of IRA support. The British newspaper The Guardian said some residents jeered as the car burned.

The outlawed Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility in a telephoned message to a radio station, saying it had killed a British soldier.

A press officer at police headquarters in Belfast said the 45-year-old victim was a Royal Navy recruiting officer who worked in Belfast.

Police Tuesday identified the recruiting officer as Lt. Alan Shields, 45. He was believed to be the first member of the Royal Navy killed by the IRA in Northern Ireland.

Crispin Rodwell, a news photographer who was driving about 50 yards behind the car, said: "It just exploded and was immediately engulfed in flames. Several people ran forward with fire extinguishers but the flames were very intense."

"They sprayed it but couldn't get close enough to have any effect and the driver was still inside," Rodwell said.

The attack followed an IRA bombing 50 miles west of Belfast on Saturday that killed eight British soldiers in a military bus and injured 27 others.