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Army faces 4 pipe bomb alerts a week

THE Army bomb team has been called to 26 pipe bomb incidents to date this year.

The latest alert saw an apartment block in Dublin city centre evacuated when gardai discovered two viable devices in an underground car park.

The two pipe bombs were being stored in the area by criminals, unknown to residents of the apartment block.

The explosives were discovered at 1.30pm last Sunday in the car park of the apartment block at St James' Place, on Tyrconnell Road in Inchicore. After they were discovered, gardai evacuated the apartment block while the Army bomb disposal team was called in.

Four hours later the all clear was given, after the pipe bombs were made safe and brought from the scene for later examination. Investigations are ongoing into the Tyrconnell Road incident, with gardai at Kilmainham investigating.

The Inchicore discovery was the 26th time the Defence Forces bomb team was called out this year.

Figures released by the Department of Defence revealed that, prior to last weekend's incident in Inchicore, the Army had been called out to deal with 25 suspicious devices -- more than four a week -- in 2010. Six of the devices were hoaxes.



SHOTGUN

The figures for the number of bomb alerts is set to hit last year's total. According to the Department of Defence in 2009 there were 196 call-outs made to Army bomb disposal experts.

Last month, the Herald revealed how reckless Dublin criminals were risking their lives by cutting open shotgun cartridges to make crude pipe bombs. Two IEDs of the same design have been discovered in the south inner city recently.

Security sources have dubbed the cartridge-cutting practice as "unbelievably stupid", posing a serious risk of detonating the shotgun round while it is been cut.

In terms of hoax alerts, recent figures revealed how gardai made arrests in fewer than a quarter of such alerts last year. Army bomb experts have had to deal with a vastly increased number of hoax callouts in recent years ---but few of the culprits have been caught.

Despite "thorough investigations" by gardai, their success rate in finding those responsible for planting or calling in the hoaxes is just 23pc.

clooney@herald.ie


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