The big security operation in Northern Ireland triggered off by the weekend series of bomb attacks scored a major success today (Sunday).
The big security operation in Northern Ireland triggered off by the weekend series of bomb attacks scored a major success today (Sunday). Troops in Belfast believe they have discovered the base from which Friday's deadly attacks wee launched.
Early this morning (Sunday) the soldiers captured a complete Irish Republican Army "explosives factory". It was discovered during search-and-arrest operations in Belfast's Market area, a known republican stronghold.
A disused house contained a small arsenal -- more than 400 pounds (180 kgs) of gelignite, bomb making equipment, a dozen guns and a thousand rounds of ammunition.
Since the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr William Whitelaw, ordered the intense military campaign early the previous day, more than 120 guerrilla suspect s have been arrested and handed over to the police for interrogation. Three suspects were seized during today's sweeps of the Markets district.
A British Broadcasting Corporation crew followed the operation closely. They succeeded in filming inside the bomb factory, where a door had been booby-trapped, and covered an explosives expert defusing a ready-made bomb and the subsequent detonation of gelignite at a nearby quarry. There's a full commentary by reporter Clifford Luton over natural sound of the operation. This commentary is transcribed overleaf, with a new introduction
In Belfast, the big security sweep continues after Friday's bomb attacks killing eleven people. On Sunday, the Army mounted a search in the Republican Markets area -- and found a house used as an Irish Republican Army bomb factory. Behind a booby-trapped door, there was a veritable arsenal. An on-the-spot report:
The bomb-making equipment was stacked neatly round the walls and on shelves with instruction manuals.
The trained dog wasn't needed to trace the explosives -- it's smell pervades the whole street. Even the Army experts were astonished at the capacity of this single bomb mill. In these sacks was enough home-made explosives to mount another massive bomb attack on Belfast. As they searched, the soldiers were shot at by a man in a nearby house. He was captured after falling through a window and so were five guns and the ammunition he was guarding.
Also found in the factory -- a bomb ready-made up for use. Women and children watched, apparently heedless of he danger, as a bomb disposal officer began the hazardous job of defusing it. This task is usually never attempted until civilians have been moved several hundreds yards back for safety. This time it was done with children crowding close round the officer.
With the defusing completed, the people were at last moved aside. And with its deadly load, this Army "Pig" crawled away from Keegan Street -- as dangerous as a thousand-pound bomb. For the men of the First Battalion Welsh Guards and the Prince of Wales Own Regiment, it represented a solid victory for the army's new get-tougher line.