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Sunday, 28 May, 2000, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Two released in dissident operation
Republic of Ireland arrests followed separate after attack on Northern Ireland border post
Arrests operation came after attack on border post
Police in the Republic of Ireland have released two men following an operation against republican dissidents opposed to the peace process.

The two were among a total of eight men arrrested by Gardai in various locations in the Irish republic.

The security forces on both sides of the border had been expecting increased dissident activity in the run-up to the key vote on devolution being taken by the Ulster Unionist Party's ruling council.

The two men to be released were arrested in Letterkenny, Co Donegal on Friday.

Alleged Real IRA leader

Two of the seven men arrested on Friday are from the Dublin area, two are from Dundalk in County Louth.

The eighth man is being held in Limerick city.

The Irish police will not comment on the identities of those being questioned, but it is understood one of them is the alleged former IRA quarter-master general who is reputed to be the leader of the Real IRA.

This break-away republican terror group was responsible for the bomb in Omagh, County Tyrone, in 1998 in which 28 people died.

Attack on army post

Dissident republicans are believed to have carried out an attempted mortar bomb attack on a south Armagh army observation post on Wednesday night.

Revealing the details of the attack the police said a van used had been fitted with a single improvised mortar tube and contained home-made explosives.

They also revealed the roof of the grey van had been cut away to direct the device.

It did not explode when it landed a short distance from a military observation post in the village of Glassdrumman near Crossmaglen.

There were no injuries.

The police also said that paramilitaries had closed a number of roads to traffic in the area using traffic cones and signs.

The van had been stolen from the Belfast area earlier this month, they added.

It had been abandoned about 600 feet from the observation post.

Meanwhile, a man who was arrested after the discovery of bomb-making equipment at Ballyfermot in southwest Dublin has been released without charge.

However, a file on the case is being sent to the Irish director of public prosecutions.

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See also:

25 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Real IRA bomb materials found
06 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Explosion at army camp
01 Mar 00 | Northern Ireland
Dissidents claim army attack
25 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Fence traps watchtower bomb
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