Police foil Belfast van bomb attack

Police in Northern Ireland have confirmed that a van at the centre of a major security alert close to the Irish border contained a bomb.



A number of controlled explosions were carried out on the vehicle found at a section of the main road between Belfast and Dublin, near Newry, after which officers confirmed a viable device had been found.



No further details were available, but the incident comes as detectives continue to question three men over the murder of constable Ronan Kerr.



A 33-year-old man was detained in the Omagh area yesterday over the booby trap bomb attack that killed the 25-year-old Catholic officer outside his home in the Co Tyrone town on Saturday.



Police were yesterday also given five more days to question a 26-year-old man arrested in Scotland on Wednesday and re-arrested on Thursday, plus a 40-year-old man arrested near Omagh on Thursday.



Confirmation that a bomb was discovered at the Newry alert comes after motorists drove through the scene yesterday morning, unaware that a security alert was under way because traffic cones placed by police had been moved.



Police later confirmed that the van bomb on the A1 route near Newry was a "substantial" device.



Army technical officers cleared the scene before the road was reopened to traffic early this morning.



Northern Ireland Policing Board member Jonathan Bell condemned the attempted bombing.



The Democratic Unionist Party representative said: "Will Northern Ireland stop going forward because of the bullying of a minority of terrorists? No."



In a reference to the widespread condemnation of the murder of Pc Kerr, he added: "The message was crystal clear from last week when our society came together as one to reject death."



Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England