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N. Ireland Charges IRA Vet With 29 Murder Counts in Omagh Bombing

  • VOA News

FILE - Royal Ulster Constabulary officers stand amid wreckage in Omagh, Northern Ireland, August 17, 1998, where a car bomb exploded killing 29 people.

FILE - Royal Ulster Constabulary officers stand amid wreckage in Omagh, Northern Ireland, August 17, 1998, where a car bomb exploded killing 29 people.

Northern Ireland has charged an Irish Republican Army veteran with 29 counts of murder for the 1998 car bombing in Omagh -- the deadliest single attack in the 30-year Northern Ireland conflict.

Seamus Daly, who lives in the Republic of Ireland, was arrested Wednesday in the border town of Newry, when he crossed into Northern Ireland.

Police have long suspected Daly in the bombing, which was claimed by a breakaway faction called the Real IRA. No new details of the probe were released Wednesday, but authorities say Daly will be arraigned Friday at a court in Dungannon, west of Belfast.

The August 15, 1998 bomb blast ripped through a crowd of civilians who authorities had sought to evacuate after a series of telephoned bomb warnings. Most of those killed were women and children, including a woman pregnant with twins. More than 200 others were wounded.

The blast occurred four months after the so-called Good Friday Agreement, which formally ended decades of conflict between mainly-Catholic Irish nationalists and Protestant Unionists who wanted to remain part of Britain. The fighting, which first erupted in 1969, claimed more than 3,600 lives.

The breakaway Real IRA opposed the Good Friday accords.

Authorities in both parts of Ireland have sought for 16 years to successfully prosecute anyone for the bombing. Two men previously charged in connection with the blast were acquitted, including an electrician charged with making the bomb. A court ruled in 2007 that forensic evidence was flawed and that police had supplied misleading testimony. The conviction of a second suspect was overturned on appeal after a court found police had altered notes taken during an interrogation.
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