Sunday, August 23, 1998 Published at 00:24 GMT 01:24 UK
UK and Ireland welcome INLA ceasefire
INLA announced ceasefire as Omagh prepared to remember its dead
Irish premier Bertie Ahern has greeted the INLA ceasefire as "further significant progress in the peace process".
Northern Ireland Office Minister Paul Murphy also welcomed the news, but stressed the need for the cessation of violence to be maintained.
The news came hours before tens of thousands of people gathered to pray for Omagh's dead and injured.
Mr Ahern said it was "good news at the end of a bleak and tragic week".
Two of the three hardline guerrilla groups opposing the agreement have since declared a truce, including the Real IRA.
Mr Ahern urged the last group, the Continuity Army Council or Continuity IRA, to follow suit.
In a statement by the INLA's political wing, the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), the group said it had instructed all its units to desist from offensive actions.
It said it accepted the conditions for armed struggle did not exist.
While the group continued to oppose the Good Friday Agreement, it recognised that the political situation had changed since its formation.
The INLA statement said: "We acknowledge and admit faults and grievous errors in our prosecution of the war.
"Innocent people were killed and injured and at times our actions as a liberation army fell far short of what they should have been.
"For this we as republicans, as socialists and as revolutionaries offer a sincere and heartfelt apology."
The announcement now means only one paramilitary organisation, the Continuity IRA, is not on ceasefire.
The Real IRA, which apologised for the Omagh bomb, declared its own truce on Tuesday.
The INLA was established in 1975, recruiting many former members of the official IRA.
The group murdered Conservative Northern Ireland spokesman Airey Neave when a bomb was left under his car at Westminster in March 1979.
In December last year, the INLA murdered loyalist LVF leader Billy Wright at the Maze prison.
Ulster Unionist MP Ken Maginnis told BBC News 24 he welcomed the statement.
Mr Maginnis said: "The words of this statement are to my mind are an admission of the futility of violence.
"And I feel that the whole thing is the inevitable outcome of the overwhelming force of democracy in relation to the agreement that was reached on 10 April."
He said there was a movement towards political stabilty in Northern Ireland.
He said: "What a pity that we had the events of Omagh last Saturday when we see what can be achieved."