British Army defuses massive bomb in Northern Ireland
9 Sep 09
After a week-long operation, British Army bomb disposal experts have located and defused a massive explosive device found near the South Armagh border in Northern Ireland.
Army bomb disposal expert (Library picture)
[Picture: Chris Burnell, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]
Yesterday, Tuesday 8 September 2009, the team, who worked alongside local police and authorities, found the device outside the village of Forkhill, which contained around 600lbs (272kg) of fertiliser-based home-made explosives.
The alert was raised on 1 September 2009 through a call to a local newspaper after which the Army experts were called in to take part in the search for the bomb.
The device was found to have a command wire which led from the roadside to a firing point across the border in the Irish Republic and local police have launched a major investigation into the incident.
Once located, 20 local residents were evacuated from their homes as a safety precaution, while the device was defused. The remnants of the bomb have been taken away for forensic examination.
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Garrison headquarters said:
"As well as IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and pipebombs there has been a campaign of hoax alerts which have kept technicians extremely busy."
Spokesman for Northern Ireland Garrison headquarters
"Just as in the rest of the UK, the Armed Forces in Northern Ireland continue to provide support for local constabularies. In Northern Ireland this not only covers civil contingencies, for example the flooding earlier this year when soldiers from 2 RIFLES [2nd Battalion The Rifles] were roused from their beds to prepare sandbags, right across to bomb disposal such as dealing with the device left near the border. Of course there is also search and rescue co-ordinated by HM Coastguard.
"However, it is through EOD [Explosive Ordnance Disposal] that the Army has been particularly busy and worth bearing in mind the pressures on the teams who deal with, on average, over thirty calls each month to deal with a range of tasks to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland. As well as IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and pipebombs there has been a campaign of hoax alerts which have kept technicians extremely busy."
In January a 300-pound (136kg) device was defused in Castlewellan, County Down, and in May the components for another bomb containing around 100lbs (45kg) of home-made explosives were found near Rosslea, County Fermanagh.