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Thursday, 2 August, 2001, 06:47 GMT 07:47 UK
Dissidents blamed for airport bomb
The bomb was found in a stolen car in the car park
The bomb was found in a stolen car in the car park
Dissident republicans are believed to be responsible for a car bomb discovered at Belfast International Airport.

Security forces discovered 20kg of home-made explosives in a car at the long stay car park close to the airport terminal shortly after 1500 BST on Wednesday.

Two controlled explosions were carried out on the suspect vehicle by army technical experts.

The first of two warnings was received at 0455 BST by a Belfast newspaper from a man who claimed to be from the Real IRA, according to police.

Had this device exploded, scores of people could have been killed or injured

Graham Shields RUC Chief Inspector

RUC Chief Inspector Graham Shields condemned those responsible for what he called a "deadly and substantial primed bomb".

"Had this device exploded, scores of people could have been killed or injured."

The Ulster Unionist Party MP for the area, David Burnside, said the airport may now have to consider stepping up security.

"It is not a very good image for Northern Ireland having a bomb at the international airport," he said.

Vague warning

"I think there may have to be a reconsideration of the external security barriers and the checkpoint that has been closed for some time now as we thought we were getting past this type of violence."

According to the police, the warning was very vague and an initial search of the airport proved fruitless.

However, following a second warning phoned to a Catholic priest, a search of thousands of cars parked both inside and outside the airport boundary pinpointed the vehicle containing the bomb.

The silver Volvo, was stolen in east Belfast on 21 June and was fitted with false plates.

Anyone with information about its movements since should contact police at Antrim RUC station

Most of the car parks at the airport were reopened but anyone travelling on Wednesday evening is advised to contact the airport before leaving home.

However, part of the long stay car park remains cordoned off causing traffic disruption for travellers.

South Antrim MP David Burnside:
"There may have to be a reconsideration of security"
See also:

01 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Dissidents 'behind police station blast'
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