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Suspected IRA Dissident Charged

September 5, 2003

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) _ Police charged a suspected Irish Republican Army dissident Friday with conspiring to commit the car bombing in the town of Omagh, the bloodiest single attack in the history of the Northern Ireland conflict.

The 34-year-old man, who was expected to be identified publicly at his arraignment Saturday, is the first person charged in Northern Ireland in connection with the Aug. 15, 1998 attack, which killed 29 people and wounded more than 300.

The attackers had hoped to derail the 1998 Good Friday peace accord, which proposed power-sharing and scores of other goals designed to promote reconciliation between Northern Ireland’s British Protestants and Irish Catholics.

Police said after three days’ interrogation the man was charged with conspiring to cause an explosion, possessing explosives, and belonging to an outlawed organization.

Police backed by scores of British troops in helicopters arrested the man and his wife Tuesday morning during a raid on the border village of Jonesborough in the IRA heartland of South Armagh. His wife was freed without charge Thursday.

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