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Car seized in Forkhill probe

Detectives investigating the discovery of a 600lb bomb in the south Armagh area earlier this week have seized a car.

The white Vauxhall Astra — registration OAZ 8764 — was seen in the Forkhill area on August 31.

Meanwhile, it was also revealed that the bomb was found after a tip-off. Police say they are anxious to find out further details about the vehicle.

“We are trying to trace the movements of this car in the days before the device was found,” said Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Mark Irvine.

Dissident republicans have been blamed for planting the massive device which had a command wire running to a firing point across the border in the Republic.

Several homes were evacuated following the discovery of the device at Forkhill and police have praised the actions of locals for their support during the searches.

“There were two calls that alerted police to this bomb,” said Det Insp Irvine.

“One of them came from a member of the local community. It was that call that helped us pinpoint exactly where the device was, so it could be dealt with by bomb disposal experts.

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

“Members of the public could also help the investigation team track down who is responsible for planting this bomb. We would like to speak to anyone who uses the Carrive Road in Forkhill or anyone who has been in that area in the last two weeks.”

Anyone who saw the car or has any other information on the investigation is asked to contact the incident room on 9056 1880. Alternatively, information can be given to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

The searches began on Tuesday last week after police received a report that a device had been left in the area.

Police were only able to narrow their search by the weekend, whereupon Army bomb experts began to defuse the device. The device was eventually made safe by Tuesday this week and residents allowed to return to their homes.

The incident has met with condemnation from police.

“The actions of terrorist criminals in planting this device in the Forkhill area put local people and police officers at significant risk,” Chief Inspector Sam Cordner said.

“Their actions were reckless and dangerous in the extreme.”

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