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Huge Bomb Defused in Northern Ireland

August 12, 1993

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) _ British soldiers defused a 3,000-pound IRA bomb Thursday in Portadown, 25 miles southwest of Belfast, police said.

The bomb, second-biggest ever produced in Northern Ireland, was planted in a van that a suspicious patrolman followed into Portadown, a Royal Ulster Constabulary spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The driver abandoned the van in Portadown’s main Catholic district, Garvaghy Road, and fled. Two cars accompanying the van sped off. Police later arrested a man they identified as the van’s driver.

In calls to Belfast news media, the Irish Republican Army admitted its bombing mission was foiled, but did not specify the target.

The center of Portadown, a mostly Protestant market town, has not been rebuilt since IRA bombers caused millions of dollars of damage in May.

The outlawed IRA is trying to end British rule in Northern Ireland.

In September 1991, the IRA tried to blast an army post near the Irish border in Rosslea, 80 miles southwest of Belfast, with a 7,000-pound bomb, but the trailer carrying the monstrous bomb became mired in mud and was abandoned.

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