Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Omagh bombing was a car bomb attack carried out by the Real IRA on August 15, 1998, against civilians in Omagh, Northern Ireland. The Real IRA are a small splinter group of former Provisional Irish Republican Army members opposed to the peace process marked by the Good Friday Agreement. 29 people were killed in the attack, including one woman who was pregnant with twins. Roughly 220 people were injured.
The atrocity provoked anger across political and religious divides, as the victims included Catholics as well as Protestants, some of whom were from republican areas. The dead also included Spanish tourists and others on a day trip from County Donegal across the border in the Republic.
On the day of the bombing, the Ulster Television newsroom in Belfast received false warnings as to the location of the bomb. As a result the Royal Ulster Constabulary directed civilians away from the named site towards the actual location of the bomb. The first warning came less than half an hour before the bombing.
The BBC's Panorama programme, Who Bombed Omagh?, shown in 2000, released the names of the prime suspects as Seamus McKenna , Michael McKevitt, Liam Campbell , Colm Murphy , and Seamus Daly . It is believed that the bombing of BBC Television Centre in London was a revenge attack for the broadcast. Bomb-builder and pub-keeper Murphy, 48, from Ravensdale, Co Louth , was charged and convicted in 2001 by the Dublin Special Criminal Court for "conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life or cause injury". He was sentenced to fourteen years in jail. No others have been indicted criminally, on claims of lack of evidence. Many of the others were later sued in a civil action by the relatives of people killed in the bombing, including the families of James Barker, 12, Samantha McFarland, 17, Lorraine Wilson, 15, and 20-month-old Breda Devine.
The Real IRA have claimed that their intent was not to kill civilians but to destroy a Law Court. This is not supported by the evidence, or the circumstantial testimony. The timing of the bombing, and the initial false warning calls served to magnify, not limit, the number of deaths caused by the bomb.
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