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Thursday, 6 December, 2001, 17:02 GMT
The day that changed Omagh
Omagh bomb site
Clearing up: The aftermath of the Omagh bomb
At ten past three on the afternoon of 15 August 1998, a car bomb exploded in a busy street in Omagh, County Tyrone.

The bomb, containing 500lbs of explosives, ripped through the town centre killing 29 people and injuring more than 200.

It had been left by the dissident republican paramilitary group the Real IRA, who are opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and the Northern Ireland peace process.

No-one has been convicted of carrying out the attack which claimed the lives of 18 adults - including a woman pregnant with twins - and 11 children.

Among the dead was an 18-month-old infant.

James Barker, 12,
Jame Barker, 12, died in the atrocity

The victims came from neighbouring areas of Tyrone, from across the Irish border in County Donegal and from as far away as Madrid in Spain.

The Spaniards had been staying at Buncrana, in Donegal and went on a day-trip shopping to Omagh.

The Omagh bombing was the worst single atrocity in more than 30 years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

It was all the more poignant as it occurred just four months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, which many hoped would herald a new era of peace.

The bombers gave a number of telephone warnings to say a device had been left in Omagh.

But the police operation dealing with the security alert in the town was misled by confusing information about where the bomb had been left.
Donna-Marie McGillion: Badly injured in the attack
Donna-Marie McGillion: Badly injured in the attack

It meant people were moved towards the site of the bomb on Market Street, instead of away from it.

Afterwards, the Real IRA disputed claims the warnings were deliberately wrong.

Last year, a coroner at an inquest into the deaths said the republican grouping was "fully responsible" for all the consequences of the bombing.

John Leckey said the Real IRA had tried to blame the police for the casualties, but the "terrorists were responsible for all that happened".

One person has been charged in connection with the bombing.

Colm Murphy, 49, a publican from Armagh, with an address in County Louth, denies charges of conspiring to cause an explosion between 13 and 16 August 1998.

His trial at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin as been adjourned until 11 January 2002.

The Troubles
Understanding Northern Ireland
See also:

05 Dec 01 | Northern Ireland
Government 'selective on terrorism'
15 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
Omagh bomb victims remembered
16 Aug 99 | UK
The day the clocks stopped
17 Aug 98 | Northern Ireland
Names of those who died
16 Aug 98 | Latest News
Omagh bombing kills 28
17 Aug 98 | Northern Ireland
Scenes from the blast
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