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Tuesday, August 18, 1998 Published at 04:57 GMT 05:57 UK

Five still held by RUC

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing

Five men are still being questioned by police investigating Saturday's car bomb attack in Omagh.

Denis Murray on the faces behind the grim statistics
They were arrested in dawn raids at Mount Joy, just outside the town and at Sixmilecross in County Tyrone.

All are being interviewed by the RUC in Belfast.

The bomb - the worst atrocity of the Troubles - claimed 28 lives and left more than 200 injured.

Francis Mackey: No amount of words from me can alleviate the suffering
Francis Mackey, a leading member of the republican 32-County Sovereignty Committee, whose son was arrested, denied that his group had any involvement in the bombing.

The 32-County Sovereignty Committee is one of three republican splinter organisations that remain implacably opposed to the Good Friday Agreement.

Mark Devenport: People will not read too much into the denial
It is thought to be the political wing of the Real IRA, which is suspected of the attack.

BBC Northern Ireland correspondent Mark Devenport said the denial would probably be viewed with scepticism by the people of Northern Ireland who could point to existing evidence of links.

[ image: More than 200 people were injured]
More than 200 people were injured
Mr Mackey's comments came as RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan and the Republic's Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne started talks as part of the cross-border police investigation into the outrage.

Mr Mackey said, when asked if he condemned the bombing: "No amount of words from me will in any way alleviate the suffering of the bereaved and the injured.

"I have categorically stated that no justification, under any circumstances, can be made for what took place in Omagh."

BBC correspondent George Eykyn: These arrests are very significant
Meanwhile, 200 people were evacuated from the government building, Stormont Castle near Belfast, following a hoax bomb warning on Monday morning.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has pledged that police on both sides of the border will get full support in finding the bombers.

[ image: A mother and son mourn the 28 who died in Omagh]
A mother and son mourn the 28 who died in Omagh
He told BBC Radio Ulster: "Those people who oppose this (peace) agreement and carry on with this mad, psychopathic, criminal, evil behaviour are the very people we have got to defeat.

"We are only going to defeat them if we take the security measures we can take, and make sure we are offering a different way forward for the future."

BBC's Dan Damon in the nationalist Garvaghy Road, Portadown: Bomb has sharpened resolve for peace
Mr Blair later flew out of Belfast to resume his holiday in France.

But on landing he had a phone call booked with Mr Trimble, and would remain "in constant touch" with Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, said a Downing Street spokesman.

The spokesman added: "If it's necessary he will go back at any time.

"He has no doubt whatsoever that the peace process is strong enough to withstand this one event."

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