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136kg car bomb found outside school in Belfast - Printable Version

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136kg car bomb found outside school in Belfast - cyrano - 02-01-2009 08:12 AM

Article from: Agence France-Presse

A 136KG car bomb was discovered close to a school in Northern Ireland, police have revealed, saying those who left it showed a "callous disregard" for life.

The home-made device was in the back of a black Volkswagen car in the village of Castlewellan in the southeast of the British province.

Police and army disposal experts have been conducting tests on the vehicle since Tuesday, when a telephone warning was received, but did not divulge the details of the bomb.

The device has now been made safe.

The callers claimed the bomb was originally intended for a nearby British army base but had been abandoned.

Bomb discoveries in Northern Ireland are now rare compared to the heights of The Troubles, the three decades of sectarian violence in the province, but authorities still warn of a deadly threat posed by dissident groups.

"The people who have carried this out showed a callous disregard for the lives of everyone in our community," said police superintendent Greg Blain.

"They planted a large viable device in a car, abandoned it in an area close to local houses and schools, and then phoned through vague warnings about the locality and nature of the threat.

"They placed the lives of every man, woman and child in the area at risk and simply have nothing to offer society.

"Those who operate under various flags of convenience are simply terrorists and criminals who wish to drag everyone back to the dark days of the past by using violence as a so-called political tool.

"I would call on all in our community who want to see a happier and more peaceful present and future to give us the information to detect and bring these criminals to justice."

Tensions were raised in Northern Ireland on Wednesday when protesters disrupted the unveiling of a report dealing with the legacy of The Troubles, furious at planned payments to families of dead paramilitaries.

The three decades of civil unrest in Northern Ireland, in which about 3,000 people were killed, largely ended with the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.

The decade since then saw repeated faltering efforts to bring self-rule to Belfast, which led the way to a landmark power-sharing deal last year between Protestant parties wanting to keep Northern Ireland linked to Britain, and Catholic parties seeking union with the Republic of Ireland.