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Bomb parts found near N. Ireland church

Feb. 1, 2013 at 1:35 PM

BALLYCLARE, Northern Ireland, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Morning mass at a Catholic church in Northern Ireland was canceled Friday after the discovery of pipe bomb parts nearby, police said.

Investigators with the Police Service of Northern Ireland said the components were those of a bomb that would have exploded if put together, the Belfast Telegraph reported. They were found near the Sacred Heart Church in Ballyclare, a town in County Antrim about 15 miles north of Belfast.

The Rev. Eugene O'Hagan, the church's pastor, said the discovery disrupted an important event for the parish.

"We had scheduled to have mass at 9.30 this morning on the feast of St. Brigid with our own primary school, that of course did not take place," he said. "There is disruption for us but also it has caused huge disruption for the townsfolk here in Ballyclare."

A new wave of political violence began in early December in Northern Ireland, when the Belfast City Council limited the flying of the British flag at City Hall. Protestant loyalists held large demonstrations for weeks, many of the protests turning into riots, with stones and Molotov cocktails hurled at police.

A PSNI spokeswoman said a security alert in the neighborhood was ended after the bomb parts were removed for examination.

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