Belfast Telegraph

Bombers planned new Omagh atrocity

A van bomb found north of the Republic border contained a wheelie bin packed with 500lbs of homemade explosives and could have been destined for an attack on a town centre, police have revealed.

Detectives believe the vehicle, found near Newry at an underpass beneath the main A1 route between Belfast and Dublin, was abandoned because of the presence of a police checkpoint.

The foiled attack is being blamed on dissident republicans opposed to the peace process, who last Saturday killed constable Ronan Kerr in a booby-trap bomb in Omagh.

Politicians have condemned the latest bomb bid, which they said could have caused a massacre on the scale of the 1998 Omagh attack where an 800lb car bomb killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins.

Policing Board member Jonathan Bell compared the failed attack to the infamous bombing of the Co Tyrone town.

The DUP representative added: "500lbs of explosives were planted to kill and we could have had another example of mass murder on our hands today.

"Just as last week we had many children and families running past the explosive device that robbed our society of the life of a talented young officer, so today we could have had serious fatalities.

"As our police raise their activities commensurate with the threat they face, so we must give them our full support."

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