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Three arrested in Omagh bomb investigation

Omagh bomb
Devastation in Omagh by a car bomb which killed 29  

Three men have been arrested in connection with the inquiry into the 1998 Omagh car bomb atrocity in Northern Ireland in which 29 people, mostly women and children, were killed.

Irish police said the three, all in their twenties, were arrested at locations in County Louth and County Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland. They were being questioned at Monaghan Police Station.

The bombing in August,1998, was the worst single act of terrorist violence ever experienced in Northern Ireland.

Scores of people have been arrested and questioned by police about the bombing but only one man has been charged.

The Real IRA, a dissident splinter group hostile to Britain's rule of Northern Ireland, claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The group split from the mainstream Irish Republican Army (IRA) amid dissatisfaction with the IRA's commitment to the peace process in the British-ruled north of Ireland.

It says the 1998 Good Friday peace accord cements British rule. The group called off hostilities shortly after the Omagh bombing but security forces say it has been responsible for a string of bombings in recent months.

Dissident group suspected of MI6 attack

The Real IRA is believed to have been behind a recent rocket attack in London on the headquarters of MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence service.

The arrests come just five weeks after an inquest into the atrocity opened in the market town of Omagh, in County Tyrone.

The inquest was told on its opening day that the true death toll from the bombing was higher than the 29 who lost their lives.

Among the uncounted victims of Northern Ireland's worst-ever bombing were the unborn twins of a pregnant woman.

Coroner John Leckey said more than 300 people were injured, some very seriously. Others were mentally scarred for life.

He said in an opening statement: "The true number of casualties -- and the word 'casualties' deserves to have a generous interpretation -- from the Omagh bomb explosion is, without doubt, far in excess of the number killed and injured, and the exact number may never be known."



RELATED STORIES:
CNN Specials
Northern Ireland
Suspected Irish dissidents arrested
October 4, 2000
MI6 attack weapon identified
September 22, 2000
Omagh remembers -- two years on
August 15, 2000
Omagh: The victim's story
August 15, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Northern Ireland Office
Omagh District Council - Northern Ireland

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