03 December 2005

Belfast Police Warn of Dissident Bombs

Yahoo! News

Fri Dec 2,10:02 PM ET

BELFAST, Northern Ireland - Police warned Northern Ireland's shoppers Friday to be on the alert for firebombs hidden by Irish Republican Army dissidents in the busy run-up to Christmas.

IRA dissidents were likely to hide cassette-sized incendiary devices in flammable items on store shelves, two senior Belfast commanders of the Police Service of Northern Ireland said in a joint statement.

The dissidents oppose the IRA's 1997 cease-fire and the 1998 peace accord for this British territory.

Such devices, developed by IRA weapons engineers in the 1980s, have been used to damage or destroy many hundreds of businesses, particularly in the days before and after Christmas. IRA dissidents last year targeted more than a dozen businesses, wrecking a few stores. They almost always are timed to detonate in the middle of the night, causing damage without wounding shoppers.

"We have already dealt with a number of real and hoax devices recently and these attacks not only put lives at risk, they threaten businesses, they threaten jobs and affect us all," police Assistant Chief Constables Duncan McCausland and Peter Sheridan said.

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