Police find large car bomb in Northern Ireland
A van containing 300 pounds (136 kilograms) of explosives was left outside a police station in Northern Ireland, police said Friday, and could have caused "complete devastation" if it went off.
Investigators blamed dissident republicans opposed to the peace process for the bomb, which was left in the village of Aughnacloy in County Tyrone on Thursday night and caused the evacuation of 350 local residents.
"We can confirm that this was a viable device containing an estimated 300 pounds of explosives," said police Superintendent Brian Kee.
"I have no doubt that if this device had detonated it would have caused complete devastation and lives would certainly have been lost."
He said the intention of those who planted the bomb was "to murder police officers with no regard for the people who live in this community".
Police received a telephone warning at 10:10pm (2110 GMT) on Thursday which said the bomb would explode within an hour, sparking the evacuation. In the end the bomb failed to go off and was dismantled by army experts.
"An investigation is underway, however at this stage we believe that dissident republicans were behind this attack," Kee added.
Security services in the British-controlled province are on high alert after a resurgence in violence in the last 18 months, including the murders of two British soldiers in March 2009 by dissident republicans.
Northern Ireland endured three decades of civil strife between Protestants who wanted it to remain part of Britain and Catholics who wanted it to join the Republic of Ireland, which largely came to an end with a 1998 peace deal.
© 2010 AFP