Armour-piercing mortar part of Capanagh Forest arms haul

The location in Capanagh Forest where the bomb parts were found 
Connla Young

THE type of armour-piercing mortar found in an arms dump in Co Antrim has twice been fired at the security forces by the ‘IRA’.

The discovery of explosives and ammunition at a forest outside Larne has been described by police as one of the most “significant seizures” in years. A potentially deadly Explosively Formed Projectile (EFP) mortar was among the haul found at Capanagh Forest at the weekend.

Other items included two Claymore anti-personnel mines, several pipe bombs, quantities of explosives, ammunition and command wire. Component parts used in the construction of explosive devices as well as magazines and ammunition for an assault riffle were also discovered in the remote forest location.

The equipment was found in three large blue barrels which had been dug into the ground. It is the second find in the area in two months with police announcing in March that bomb-making equipment and explosives were discovered at nearby Carnfunnock Country Park.

Police said both finds were made after the dumps were discovered by walkers. Capable of piercing armour over a long distance, EFPs in the past have contained high-powered Semtex explosives. It is considered by some as the modern version of the horizontal mortar – known to republicans as a ‘doodle bug’ – which was used to deadly effect by the Provisionals to kill British soldiers and RUC officers.

The weapon was first used by the ‘IRA’ in March 2014 when a PSNI Land Rover was targeted as it travelled along the Falls Road close to the City Cemetery. At the time the ‘IRA’ claimed the new devices were part of an “already sophisticated weapons inventory”. Later that year a PSNI car was struck by an EFP as it travelled through the Creggan estate in Derry. No-one was hurt in either incident.

Unexploded EFPs have also been recovered by the security forces across the north in the past. 

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