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The BBC's Chris Capper
"The security forces are now in an operation to make sure the area around the device is safe"
 real 56k

Sunday, 15 April, 2001, 21:28 GMT 22:28 UK
'Barrack buster' mortar disarmed
The area has been cordoned off
The area has been cordoned off
Bomb disposal experts have made safe a fully armed "barrack buster" mortar bomb packed with 90kg of high explosives found in County Tyrone.

The device, found inside an abandoned van near to Altmore Forest, between Dungannon and Carrickmore, was cleared after a three day security operation.

The incident is being linked to dissident republican paramilitaries.

A barrack buster bomb is made up of a large amount of explosives, usually packed into a large gas cylinder. It is intended to detonate on impact.

The sole purpose of a device of this nature is to cause death and destruction

RUC Chief Inspector Brian Williamson
The vehicle was discovered on Thursday after a man living in the area received an anonymous phone call to his home and found it himself before alerting the authorities.

A hole had been cut in the roof of the van for the bomb to be fired towards its target.

RUC Chief Inspector Brian Williamson, operations manager at Cookstown District Command Unit, Co Tyrone, urged the public to remain vigilant and said: "The sole purpose of a device of this nature is to cause death and destruction.

"At a time when the entire community is struggling to come to terms with the scourge of foot-and-mouth disease there are those who have nothing more to offer than devastation."

He said efforts to work with other agencies to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth were "being hampered by people who have nothing to offer our community".

"The terrorists' actions are to be utterly condemned," he added. "This is not what the community wants, nor what they deserve.

"I would appeal to everyone to remain vigilant and to report to police any suspicious activity they may observe."

Miles from border

In February, a similar device was found in remote woodland in the Republic of Ireland.

Gardai discovered the mark-15 type mortar near Newtowncunningham during a search of an area several miles from the border.

The device did not contain any explosives.

A similar device was used in an attack on Ebrington army base in Londonderry in January.

The attack on the base was blamed on dissident republicans.

The dissidents are opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.

Last November, the security forces intercepted another so-called barrack buster when a van was stopped at Derrylin, in County Fermanagh.

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See also:

13 Feb 01 | Northern Ireland
Search continues after mortar find
06 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Explosion at army camp
06 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Bombing blamed on dissidents
12 Apr 01 | Northern Ireland
Mortar bomb found in van
17 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
Bomb 'largest found' in recent years
12 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Police intercept mortar device
23 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
Dissidents behind bomb attack
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