Three men held by Omagh bomb team

Police investigating the Omagh bombing, the worst atrocity of the Northern Ireland Troubles, arrested and questioned three people in the Irish Republic yesterday.

Two were held in Co Monaghan at the weekend and the third was picked up yesterday in Dundalk, Co Louth. They were being interrogated by detectives in Carrickmacross. Police sources indicated that the three were not suspected of being involved in the Omagh attack in August 1998, which killed 29 people. One of the men is in his late twenties and a second is in his mid-thirties, a police spokeswoman said.

The arrests mean that almost 100 people have been picked up, north and south of the border, over the past three years in connection with the Omagh bomb. Under Irish legislation the three can be held for up to 72 hours before being charged or released.

Only one person has been convicted in relation with the incident. Last month Colm Murphy, from South Armagh, was sentenced to 14 years by the three-judge Special Criminal Court in Dublin. He was convicted of conspiracy to cause an explosion in August 1998.

In the north, the RUC's investigation into the atrocity has become embroiled in intense political controversy, with a debate on whether the inquiry was competently carried out.

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