News

Northern Irish police find truck bomb timed for Brexit

February 6, 2020 11:50 PM


Northern Irish police said Thursday they had found a bomb attached to a truck which was intended to go off as the UK left the European Union.

The Continuity IRA (Irish Republican Army), a dissident paramilitary group, were blamed for planting what detectives said was a viable device. Dissident republicans like the Continuity IRA seek Northern Ireland's integration into the Republic of Ireland through violent means.

Police said a sketchy warning call was made to a media outlet on January 31 -- the day the United Kingdom left the EU -- about a device on a truck in Belfast docks, due to take a ferry to mainland Britain. Searches were conducted and nothing was found.

But on Monday, a more detailed warning call said the device had been attached to a truck trailer belonging to a particular haulage company. It was found inland at an industrial estate in Lurgan, southwest of Belfast, and was made safe by British army bomb disposal experts.

Police believe the Continuity IRA thought the trailer was destined for a ferry to Scotland but had selected the wrong vehicle as the one containing the bomb did not leave the premises at all. The bomb "could have caused death and very serious injury," said the Northern Irish police's temporary assistant chief constable George Clarke.

Those who created the bomb "did intend that the device would explode at around the time the UK left the EU", he added. The UK deems the Northern Ireland-related terror threat level to be severe -- the second-highest of five levels -- meaning an attack is considered "highly likely".

'Catastrophic'

The United Kingdom left the EU on January 31, with Northern Ireland a major sticking point in three years of Brexit withdrawal agreement negotiations between London and Brussels. A solution had to be found that would keep the UK's only land border free-flowing between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state.

An open border was a provision of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that largely ended more than three decades of violence in Northern Ireland. In a transition period, Britain will adhere to EU rules until the end of the year, when a controversial dual customs system is introduced in Northern Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland has a general election on Saturday. Mainstream republicans Sinn Fein topped the last opinion poll. Northern Ireland's police chief Simon Byrne gave the force's oversight body a briefing on the incident at their monthly meeting on Thursday.

"This could have ended up on a ferry," Sinn Fein board member Gerry Kelly told the UK's Press Association news agency. "If it had exploded, you are talking about catastrophic loss of life."



Most Read

  1. 16 die, 30 wounded as truck carrying 100 pilgrims fall into ditch near Hub 16 die, 30 wounded as truck carrying 100 pilgrims fall into ditch near Hub
  2. Ayeza Khan has ideal stylist squad! Ayeza Khan has ideal stylist squad!
  3. French athlete breaks world record after climbing Eiffel Tower French athlete breaks world record after climbing Eiffel Tower
  4. Farmers can apply for Bardana through App from Saturday as Punjab starts wheat procurement campaign Farmers can apply for Bardana through App from Saturday as Punjab starts wheat procurement campaign
  5. Punjab students asked to get registered for getting petrol, e-bikes Punjab students asked to get registered for getting petrol, e-bikes
  6. UK hikes family visa requirements in bid to cut migration UK hikes family visa requirements in bid to cut migration

Opinion

  1. Insights into the Pakistan Stock Exchange's Recent Record High Triumph
    Insights into the Pakistan Stock Exchange's Recent Record High Triumph

    By Zulfiqar Ali Mir

  2. IMEC to sabotage CPEC
    IMEC to sabotage CPEC

    By Dr Asif Channer

  3. 1947 TO FORM 47
    1947 TO FORM 47

    By Dr Asif Channer

  4. Beijing wants to further highlight industrial sector in its country and take scientific innovation to new heights....
    Beijing wants to further highlight industrial sector in its country and take scientific innovation to new heights....

    By Ali Ramay

  5. Global race: China will reduce its unnecessary expenses
    Global race: China will reduce its unnecessary expenses

    By Ali Ramay

  6. Channer Pir: The Great Saint of Cholistan
    Channer Pir: The Great Saint of Cholistan

    By Dr Asif Channer