Car bombing in Newry, Northern Ireland, raises fears of renewed conflict

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The car bomb that exploded in the Northern Ireland city of Newry Monday night highlights the resurgence in activity of Irish Republican splinter groups determined to wreck the province's fragile peace process with an increasingly sophisticated use of explosives.

Monday's 225-pound bomb went off in a car near the front security gates of the courthouse of Newry, a town near the border with the Republic of Ireland. Warnings were received by authorities giving 30 minutes' notice of the blast, but the device exploded just 17 minutes later. Local police said it was a "sheer miracle" no one was killed or hurt.

The Newry bomb, which no group has yet claimed responsibility for, is proof that "we are not quite post-conflict," said Richard English, professor of politics at Queen's University Belfast. Dissidents are going to be "more of a part of the new order in Northern Ireland than people thought would be the case," he said....

Hard-line Republican groups like the Real IRA and Continuity IRA have kept up a steady drumbeat of attacks over the past year or so. The worst month for violence was last March, when two British soldiers were shot and killed as they picked up a pizza delivery outside their barracks, and two days later a local policeman was killed....

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