Roadside bomb found close to Irish border

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A 100lb roadside bomb was found in countryside near the Irish border, police said yesterday.

The explosives were discovered in a beer keg by a man working in a field in south Fermanagh. It was just outside an area where police carried out a series of searches, six weeks after terrorists claimed to have left the device somewhere along a 10-mile stretch between the villages of Rosslea and Donagh.

The bomb was close to a hedge three miles outside Rosslea, near where two police officers escaped when a bomb failed to detonate properly last June.

Several families had to be evacuated from their homes when Army explosives experts were called in to check the device. It is not known what state it was in, but police confirmed that component parts for a substantial explosive device had been recovered. The disruption to people's lives was massive, according to Chief Inspector Alywin Barton, the area commander for Fermanagh.

He added: "The impact on their lives, and their livelihoods, especially at such a difficult economic time, has been huge. But then the people responsible for this don't care. They have a single-track mind with no thought for anybody else."

A 300lb car bomb was abandoned near Castlewellan, Down, in January and the discovery of the latest device confirmed police claims of a growing threat from dissidents, especially in Fermanagh. There has been a series of attack attempts in the country in the past 12 months.

Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, from London, were shot dead as they collected pizzas outside the Massereene Army base in Antrim on 7 March. Just hours later, PC Stephen Carroll, 48, was ambushed by a gunman in Craigavon, Armagh.