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Explosives, rifle, ammo found in IRA power base in Catholic west Belfast
Associated Press
2006-10-10 03:28 PM
Police said they found a cache of weapons Tuesday by a roadside in Catholic west Belfast, a power base for the outlawed Irish Republican Army.

The cache included explosives, a rifle and ammunition, police said, without disclosing whether the weapons had been abandoned or were concealed. Police said nobody was arrested in connection with the find.

The fate of the IRA's arsenal has overshadowed Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord, which called on the IRA to disarm fully by mid-2000.

The IRA for years rejected disarmament as a humiliating demand, but last year handed over its stockpiles of largely Libyan-supplied weapons to disarmament chiefs. Police say the underground organization retained some weapons, chiefly handguns for self-defense from enemy paramilitary groups and criminal gangs.

Last week, the British and Irish governments published an experts' report, which concluded that the IRA had disbanded key units responsible for procuring and developing weapons, as well as recruiting and training new members. But the report noted that several dissident IRA groups had retained their own weapons stocks and remained determined to mount bombings and shootings in pursuit of the IRA's traditional goal of overthrowing Northern Ireland by force.

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