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Alert as Ulster border mortar found
An army robot at work near the village of Cullyhanna where a dissident republican style rocket launcher was discovered
A dissident republican-style mortar explosive has been discovered in Northern Ireland.
Troops and police were involved in a massive security operation close to the border with the Irish Republic in south Armagh. The alert has been continuing for several days and security forces may have thwarted a major bomb attack.
The device, planted upright surrounded by vegetation in a field near Cullyhanna, could have been used to attack a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) helicopter responding to another incident.
Legislator Dominic Bradley said: "Those responsible still live in some warped existence of the past."
The finger of suspicion has been pointed at republicans opposed to the peace process, who murdered two soldiers, two police officers and a prison guard in recent years.
The level of threat posed is still severe.
There was a large security presence in south Armagh, including a police helicopter and army bomb disposal experts who carried out a controlled explosion. Two dark-coloured tubes around 10ft long and resembling domestic drain piping were observed at the scene.
Police carrying large automatic weapons guarded a rural approach road within sight of a white-washed house and a dull thud was heard as the device was detonated by a military robot.
Soldiers earlier used sniffer dogs and metal detectors to scour hedgerows and culverts. Many nearby residents had to leave their homes overnight.
A PSNI spokesman said: "Police can confirm that the suspicious object found in the Bog Road/Lisleitrim Road area of Cullyhanna is a mortar type device. Army Technical Officers are continuing to examine and make safe the device."