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Police disarm two bombs in Northern Ireland

BELFAST: Northern Ireland police said Sunday they had found and disarmed two bombs, one near Belfast airport, blaming groups intent on taking the once conflict-torn province “back to mayhem and misery”.

Forensic officers examine the damage caused by a car bomb which exploded outside the Ulster Bank in LondonderryStaff at Belfast International Airport raised the alert on Saturday afternoon after spotting a vehicle in the long stay car park, which contained “a viable device along with suspected flammable liquid”, police said.

It was made safe by explosives officers and the alert ended about 2:00 am (0200 GMT) on Sunday morning.

Air traffic was not affected and police said there was no link to the global alert provoked by the discovery of bombs on two US-bound planes on Friday.

Meanwhile in Lurgan, a town southwest of Belfast, about 40 kilogrammes of home-made explosive materials were found in a beer keg on Friday, prompting police to carry out a number of controlled explosions.

A number of nearby homes were evacuated overnight and, because the device was found under a railway bridge, the main rail service between Belfast and Dublin was suspended for 24 hours, police said.

“Both devices had the potential to cause injury and damage. They were left in places used by the public and with no regard for the public,” said Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland.

He added: “In recent days police have stepped up their measures to counter the threat posed by misguided individuals and groups who seek to drag the country back to mayhem and misery.

“Our efforts will continue and we would ask everyone in the community to be vigilant about their surroundings as they go about their daily business.”

There has been a resurgence in attacks and attempted attacks in recent months, most blamed on dissident republican groups seeking to undermine peace.

For three decades up until the 1998 peace accords, Northern Ireland was scoured by violence pitching Catholic nationalists against pro-British Protestant unionists. The conflict left about 3,500 people dead.

Last month, the British government raised the threat level from Northern Ireland-related “terrorism” to suggest an attack was now a “strong possibility”. — AFP

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