British dismantle IRA dissidents' bomb in beer keg

AP News
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Posted: Oct 30, 2010 6:22 PM
British dismantle IRA dissidents' bomb in beer keg

Northern Ireland police seized a dissident IRA bomb packed into a beer keg Saturday and were inspecting a potential car bomb parked outside Belfast International Airport, the latest efforts to undermine peace in the British territory.

Police said British Army experts who dismantled the beer-keg bomb found 40 kilograms (90 pounds) of explosive inside.

A pedestrian spotted the keg bomb underneath a rail bridge in the town of Lurgan, where Irish Republican Army dissidents have a base of operations. The threat forced rail passengers on Dublin-Belfast services to be transferred to buses for the Northern Ireland half of their journeys Friday night and all day Saturday.

Police Chief Inspector Jason Murphy said authorities received no telephone warnings about the Lurgan bomb. He described the IRA dissidents as "a cowardly element intent on causing as much destruction as they can."

Later Saturday, police said they were examining a suspicious car abandoned in the long-term parking lot at Belfast International Airport. They couldn't confirm whether the car contained a bomb.

The alert forced passengers arriving and departing the terminal to avoid doors nearest the parking lot but did not disrupt flights.

Northern Ireland police stressed that the two alerts had no connection to the bombs discovered Friday on cargo planes bound from Yemen to the United States.

IRA splinter groups opposed to Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord _ which forged a joint Catholic-Protestant government that includes former IRA figures _ have detonated half a dozen car bombs in Northern Ireland this year, injuring nobody seriously.

The IRA killed nearly 1,800 people during its failed 1970-1997 campaign to force Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom. Most IRA members renounced violence and disarmed in 2005.