Irish police are saying that the 500-pound bomb found abandoned under an overpass on the main Dublin to Belfast road was a “sophisticated and substantial” device. Chief Police Superintendent Alasdair Robinson said in a press conference today that the bomb, if detonated, could have caused massive destruction and loss of life, according to the BBC.
Police presence in Northern Ireland has been stepped up in the wake of the murder of constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh, County Tyrone. The young Catholic police officer was killed by a car bomb on the morning of April 2nd.
While it is believed the presence of a police checkpoint forced the latest bombers to abandon the vehicle, hundreds of motorists drove past the device unaware of the danger after traffic cones and warning signs had been removed, and even driven over, by others on the road.
The blue Ford transit van, stolen in Maynooth outside Dublin in January and carrying false Donegal registration plates, was found near Newry and contained a wheelie bin packed with 500lbs of homemade explosives.
The recent uptick in violence is being blamed on dissident republicans, unhappy with the peace process. Additionally, Robinson said in the press conference that the type of bomb was one historically used by republican groups. The device was destroyed in a series of controlled explosions on Friday night.
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