Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 18:06 UK

Child touched 100lb beer keg bomb

The bomb was in a beer keg

It has emerged a number of children had a narrow escape after a young boy touched part of a 100lb bomb found in a hedge in south Armagh.

Police said the child was playing just outside Jonesborough on Saturday afternoon when he came across the device, hidden inside a beer keg.

PSNI superintendent Alan McCrum said there could easily have been a tragedy.

"We had a 10-year-old boy who actually went up to the bomb and touched it not knowing what it was," he said.

"So it's very plain to see that it's only through circumstances that we're not dealing today with a much more serious set of circumstances."

The discovery of the bomb resulted in Finnegans Road and Molly Road being cordoned off.

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy condemned the attack and said whoever was responsible had no support from the community.

"It is disgraceful and I think the people involved in this, and I presume that this is some dissident republican group, have no support in that community and they certainly have no strategy to achieve any political objectives," he said.

DUP MLA William Irwin said the police were the intended targets. "Indeed, it would seem there was an attempt to lure police into the area."

He continued: "This has been a tactic used in other dissident attacks and once again demonstrates the determination of some in Northern Ireland to take human life in pursuit of their goal to destabilise the province."

The SDLP's Dominic Bradley said those who left the bomb showed "absolutely no consideration for the residents of the local area".

"It was an act of complete irresponsibility and one which all right-thinking people will condemn outright without reservation."

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