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Libya Explosives Reported Aiding IRA Terrorism

May 15, 1987|From Reuters

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — This year's upsurge in Irish nationalist guerrilla violence is due in part to powerful plastic explosives supplied to the Irish Republican Army by Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi, police sources said Thursday.

The explosives, 10 times more powerful than the homemade type previously used by the outlawed IRA, were used in a car bomb that killed a Northern Ireland judge and his wife on the Irish border last month, the sources said.

Manufactured in Czechoslovakia and known commercially as Semtex, the explosives were also used in several letter bombs sent recently to senior British civil servants in London and in mortar shells used for a string of attacks on Northern Ireland police stations.

"The Libyan support for terrorism is a matter of record," said a British Foreign Office spokesman in London, "This is something which we unreservedly condemn."

Tripoli's reported involvement in Northern Ireland "will not accelerate the resumption of relations" between Britain and Libya, he said. Diplomatic ties were broken off in 1984 after a British policewoman was killed by gunfire from Libya's London embassy.

Kadafi told Britain's Observer newspaper in March that he had increased aid to the IRA because the British government allowed U.S. planes to launch the April, 1986, bombing raid on Libya from bases in England.

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