Bomb detonated in Belfast near Sinn Fein office
April 28, 1997
Web posted at: 10:32 a.m. EDT (1432 GMT)
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (CNN) -- In two controlled explosions on Monday, the British army detonated a bomb in a car near offices of Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing, in west Belfast.
The operation took place just after Prime Minister John Major ended a one-hour election campaign visit to Belfast.
A police spokesman said that army technical officers found the bomb and rendered it harmless after a radio station received a warning telephone call. Controlled explosions are used to disarm suspect devices.
The telephone caller did not give any code word but said the device contained 100 pounds (45 kg) of explosives. Nearby homes and business premises were evacuated.
Sinn Fein sources said they suspected the device was the work of pro-British Loyalist extremists opposed to the Irish Republican Army's armed campaign to try to end Britain's rule of Northern Ireland.
Last month, Loyalists were blamed by republicans for a bomb found outside another Sinn Fein office in west Belfast.
After chatting with shoppers in a new British supermarket in downtown Belfast on Monday, Major said his visit was designed to show support for Northern Ireland's place within the United Kingdom and to urge Catholic voters to shun the IRA-allied Sinn Fein party at the polls in Thursday's election.
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