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Two men arrested after bomb find

Remains of a large van bomb that was defused by the British Army in a controlled explosion.
Remains of a large van bomb that was defused by the British Army in a controlled explosion.

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SPECIAL REPORT
• Overview: Breaking the cycle
• Profiles: Key players
• Timeline: Decades of violence

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (CNN) -- Police in Northern Ireland early Monday arrested two men in connection with the discovery of a bomb a day earlier in Londonderry.

The men, ages 33 and 24, are helping police with their inquiries, according to the Police Service for Northern Ireland.

A huge bomb was found Sunday packed into an abandoned van in Londonderry. British army demolitions experts have since defused it.

Security forces believe the device, which contained 600 pounds of explosives, was made by dissident republicans opposed to a 1997 cease-fire by the Irish Republican Army.

The once promising peace process in Northern Ireland has been stalled since last fall, when the power-sharing Catholic-Protestant government collapsed under pro-British Protestant unionists' anger over allegations of an IRA spy ring in government.

A meeting of the Ulster Unionist Party, the largest Protestant organization, on Monday could bring a challenge to the long-time leadership of David Trimble, who had been First Minister in the power-sharing government.

Nearly 4,000 people have been killed in Catholic-Protestant violence since 1966 and thousands more wounded. In 1998, the battling sides signed the "Good Friday Accord," brokered by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, but since that time "The Troubles" -- as the long period of conflict is known -- have barely abated.

New elections, scheduled for May, were postponed until fall because the IRA had not given assurances it would cease all paramilitary activities.


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