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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Omagh bomb scare evokes memories of previous murderous attacks

Police ordered the postponement of a remembrance day ceremony in Northern Ireland in a town that saw 29 die in an attack in 1998

Remembrance Sunday events were suspended in Omagh after a viable pipe bomb was found. Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Remembrance Sunday events were suspended in Omagh after a viable pipe bomb was found. Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne

A remembrance day ceremony in Omagh, Northern Ireland, which was devastated by a bomb attack in 1998, had to be postponed after a viable pipe bomb type device was found by police.

A suspicious object was uncovered which caused the ceremony to be cancelled, although the rest of the activities to honour the war dead were able to go ahead.

Police Service of Northern Ireland chief constable George Hamilton said the device was "left to cause maximum disruption" to Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Chief inspector Graham Dodds stressed that the police were in control of the situation and made efforts to reassure residents of the town, which saw an attack by the Real IRA in 1998 that killed 29 people and injured 220 others.

"This is a sickening attempt by cowards to create fear and disruption on a day when many gather to pay their respects to the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice and must be unreservedly condemned," he said.

DUP MLA Tom Buchanan said: "It is disgusting that anyone would target a war memorial at any time, but on Remembrance Sunday it is an act of particular hatred.

"The cowardice of those who left this device stands in stark contrast to the bravery of those who are commemorated today."

Ulster Unionist councillor Chris Smyth also said those responsible were cowards.

“It's always going to hurt an awful lot when people come to remember their dead and they come with wreaths, they come with a very clear idea of what they want to do,” he said

“Then, because of the actions of a few very sick and very cowardly individuals, they’re stopped from doing that.”

The Sinn Féin MP for the area, Barry McElduff, said people had the “unfettered right” to remember their dead.

“Whoever decided to leave a package in this area, a suspicious package, obviously has shown complete disregard for everyone in the community,” he said.

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