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Dublin: 18 °C Sunday 12 July, 2020

Update: 600lb explosive device found in Newry was ‘fully primed’

The bomb was found in a vehicle just outside Newry, and police say it had the potential to be devastating.

Image: Photocall Ireland

Updated 2.10pm

POLICE IN NORTHERN Ireland have said a viable explosive device found in a van just outside Newry was fully primed and contained 600lbs of explosives.

The PSNI has said that had the bomb exploded, it would have been devastating. Anyone within 50 metres of the device would have been killed and anyone within 100 metres would have been seriously injured.

The device was twice as big as the bomb which exploded outside the courthouse in Newry in February 2010. The bomb, which was found in a suspicious vehicle in the Fathom Line area on Thursday evening was also 300lbs larger than the Omagh bomb which killed 29 people, including a woman who was pregnant with twins in August 1998.

The Citroen Berlingo van had been abandoned at Fathom Line and a member of the public alerted police on Thursday afternoon.

The PSNI said the road was closed within 12 minutes. Chief Superintendent Alasdair Robinson has responded to criticism that cars were able to drive past the device:

Many police services would struggle to get an international border closed in this time frame. There was some residual traffic following the closures and while we made the public aware of the road closures and advised them to avoid the area, a few cars ignored our advice.

It’s understood that the dissident republicans are thought to be responsible for the device. Police say they can only speculate on what the bomb’s potential target was.

Meanwhile a number of homes were evacuated in north Belfast overnight following the discovery of a device under a parked car in the Ballygomartin Road area.

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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