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Belfast bomb alert snarls roads on IRA anniversary

September 1, 2014

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Police say a bomb alert that shut down Belfast’s main motorway on the 20th anniversary of the Irish Republican Army cease-fire was the result of an “elaborate hoax.”

Monday’s closure of the M1 motorway caused traffic chaos as commuters were forced down gridlocked side streets. The three-lane road was reopened after British Army experts using a remote-controlled robot determined that the suspicious device contained no explosives.

The disruption came two decades after the outlawed Provisional IRA called a cease-fire following a failed 24-year campaign to force Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom. The Provisionals abandoned their truce in 1996, restored it a year later, and disarmed and formally renounced violence in 2005.

IRA splinter groups opposed to Northern Ireland’s Catholic-Protestant government still mount occasional attacks and frequent hoax threats.

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