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Sunday, May 17, 1998 Published at 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK


500lb bomb defused in Armagh

A 500lb car bomb has been safely defused near a police station in the centre of Armagh.

About 50 people were evacuated from nearby homes after the alarm was raised late on Saturday night.

Army bomb experts carried out a controlled explosion.

It is not known who planted the homemade explosive but BBC correspondents said it appeared to be the work of Irish nationalists opposed to a proposed political settlement for the province.

Three republican groups still oppose the peace process and do not observe a ceasefire.

The accord, agreed by political leaders on Good Friday, will be put before voters at referendum in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on Friday.

The bomb was left in a white Toyota, stolen in Dublin last month and fitted with false Northern Ireland licence plates.

A local branch of the Samaritans received a warning but by then the area was already being cleared.

The same police station was targeted in March when mortar bombs were fired from a nearby rugby club.

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