Tip-off led to Armagh bomb find

 

Police found a 275kg  (660lb) roadside bomb in south Armagh following a tip off, it was disclosed today.

 

Dissident republicans are suspected of planting the home-made bomb, which was concealed in three barrels. It was heavily camouflaged and placed alongside the road near Forkhill.

The device was primed and could have been exploded at any time. The dissidents who prepared the bomb had gone to considerable lengths to try to avoid detection or discovery of the device. A lengthy concealed command wire was stretched across a field and into a second field into Co Louth where it could have been triggered.

The PSNI has said the device was designed to kill officers patrolling the area. No group has admitted responsibility so far but it is believed that one of the two factions of the Real IRA, possibly the group that goes under the name “Óglaigh na hÉireann”, was behind the planned ambush.

Detective Inspector Mark Irvine added it was thanks to the local community that the explosive had been found in time.

“There were two calls that alerted police to this bomb. One of them came from a member of the local community,” he said. “It was that call that helped us pinpoint exactly where the device was, so it could be dealt with by bomb disposal experts.”

British army bomb disposal experts spent seven days defusing it.

“The bomb was planted very close to private homes, and there is no doubt that had it gone off, someone could have been killed,” Mr Irvine said.

Police want to speak to anyone who uses the Carrive Road in Forkhill or anyone in that area within the last fortnight. As part of the investigation they seized a white Vauxhall Astra car which was seen in the Forkhill area on August 31st.