IRA suspect charged over armor-piercing mortar

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Associated Press

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 9:35 AM

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — A 21-year-old Belfast man has been charged with possessing an Irish Republican Army mortar weapon used to strike police armored vehicles.

Brendan Campbell offered no plea during his arraignment Monday in a Belfast court. He was denied bail.

Campbell was arrested Friday after police discovered a specialized IRA mortar system that is designed to fire an armor-piercing shell sideways into a passing police vehicle.

Police found the weapon hidden in Ardoyne, an IRA power base in north Belfast, in a backyard shed belonging to Campbell's grandmother. They say his fingerprints were retrieved from plastic bags containing the mortar system, a heavy-duty battery and a command wire used to fire the weapon remotely.

Most IRA members have observed a cease-fire since 1997, but small splinter groups remain active.

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