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."