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Monday, 11 September, 2000, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Dissidents blamed for attacks
Divisional fire officer Sam McIntyre
Divisional fire officer Sam McIntyre illustrates size of incendiaries
The police in Northern Ireland believe dissident republicans have been behind a series of incendiary bomb attacks on shops.

The police have urged business owners to thoroughly check their premises after two more incendiary devices were left in shops.

Over the weekend, incendiaries were found in two clothes shops in County Tyrone.

Police said one device was found in a store in Scotch Street, Dungannon.

Army bomb disposal experts found a partially exploded firebomb in William Street in Cookstown.

The security alerts came a day after two similar finds in Armagh and Belfast led police to urge shopkeepers to be on their guard for firebombs.

The dissident republican groups being blamed by police for the attacks are opposed to the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement under which the Northern Ireland Assembly was created.

'Continued threat'

Ulster Unionist assemblyman for the area Billy Armstrong said he had suspected dissident republicans of being behind the incidents.

"They want to disrupt peoples' lives and they want people to know their threat is still there," he told BBC News Online.

"I presume it was a dissident republican faction. I wouldn't have any knowledge of who carried out the attack, but I would have no reason to believe it was a Protestant faction."

Senior divisonal fire officer Sam McIntyre said the incendiary devices left in shops over the weekend were of the audio cassette type.

He said shop staff should not try to deal with them because they could ignite with a very intense heat within two metres of the device.

Armagh
The first firebomb was found in Armagh town centre
On Saturday, a firebomb was found in a soft furnishings store in Armagh. A few hours later a similar device was found at a camping shop in Belfast.

Army bomb disposal experts removed the incendiary bomb at Millets at the junction of High Street and Cornmarket in the city.

Police also discovered a cache of arms and ammunition in an abandoned house in the loyalist Shankill area of Belfast.

Officers uncovered pipe-bombs, an improvised nail bomb, mortar tubes and other items during the planned search of premises in Snugville Street.

The discovery of arms in the Shankill came as supporters of jailed UFF leader Johnny Adair pressed the government to release him.

UFF leader Johnny Adair
Adair: Back in prison
He was freed early from a jail term under the Good Friday Agreement but was rearrested after violence broke out.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson acted after two men, one of whom had links to the UFF, were killed.

Senior Ulster Defence Association figure Jackie Coulter and Bobby Mahood were shot dead as they sat in a car in north Belfast.

Following Adair's re-arrest, a third man was shot dead. Sam Rocket was killed by UFF gunmen in front of his girlfriend and baby daughter.

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See also:

09 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Firebomb finds put shops on alert
09 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Loyalists blamed for attacks
09 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Parties review feud talks
05 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Suspect device found at fire scene
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