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6 June 1997 Edition

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IRA placed mine on patrol route

Oglaigh na hEireann's Belfast Brigade has said in a supplied statement that its Volunteers left a huge landmine at Poleglass near West Belfast last weekend.

The IRA statement also revealed details of the operation saying they had fitted a white Renault van with false number plates similar to a Department of the Environment's Water Board van.

A yellow rooftop beacon completed the decoy. Loaded with 1,000lbs of explosives the van was driven to a position beside a roadway frequently used as a staging point for British patrols. A command wire was attached.

However as Volunteers awaited their military target a number of civilians moved close to the van and the operation had to be aborted. IRA engineers dismantled the firing mechanism. They also telephoned a coded warning giving the precise location of the van bomb. This was not acted on by British forces for almost 12 hours despite the warning being very specific as to the nature and location of the abandoned vehicle.

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