Bomb-making cache found in Northern Ireland

LONDON (AFP) - Police in Northern Ireland on Sunday (March 6) announced the discovery of a large cache of bomb-making parts and explosives, raising fears of an attack in the province.

The bomb-making materials, explosives and partially-constructed devices were found buried in plastic barrels in a forest park in a predominantly unionist area near Larne, 50 kilometres north of Belfast.

"It is too early to link these items to any particular grouping, but we are following a number of lines of inquiry," said Police Service of Northern Ireland detective chief inspector Gillian Kearney.

"I would ask the public to remain vigilant, wherever they are and whatever they are doing. If people report suspicious activity to police, we will act on it to keep people safe." It comes 24 hours after two explosive devices were found and defused in west Belfast.

Separately on Friday, a prison guard was injured by an explosive device placed under his van in an attack attributed to dissident republicans.

A senior police officer expressed concerns following the bomb that some "people within dissident republican groupings" wanted to mark the centenary of Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising with violence.

The anniversary of the rebellion which led to Irish independence is to be commemorated with high profile events both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

About 500 people were killed in the revolt in April 1916, in which rebels seized prominent buildings in Dublin and declared an Irish republic, an event that paved the way for independence in 1922.

Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom - something opposed by republicans, who continue to campaign for the whole island to be a unified Irish state.