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Homeland Security

Car bomb targets courthouse in Northern Ireland

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Feb 23, IRNA -- Republican dissidents opposed to the peace process were being blamed Tuesday for a car bomb attack outside a courthouse in Newry, the first attack of its kind in Northern Ireland in over a decade.

No-one was reported killed or injured in the explosion that occurred as police were evacuating the area at about 2200 GMT on Monday night.

The attack comes just two weeks after Northern Ireland’s main political parties agreed to devolve police and justice powers from London, in what was seen as a final piece of the jigsaw in implementing the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

"This is an act of senseless violence by a small handful of people who refuse to accept the people's overwhelming support for the peace process,” said Britain’s Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward.

“The best message that could be sent to them is a powerful rejection of violence through the completion of devolution," Woodward said.

Earlier this month, police on both sides of the Irish border launched separate operations against dissident republicans following an increase in paramilitary activity.

One faction, the Continuity IRA shot dead a 48-year-old policeman in March last year, just days after the Real IRA claimed the killing of two British soldiers.

The latest attack is thought to be the first time a large car bomb has exploded in Northern Ireland since 29 people were killed in the Real IRA bombing of Omagh in 1998, just months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

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End News / IRNA / News Code 975461



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