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The Omagh Bombing

The Real IRA attack claimed the lives of 29 people including a mother pregnant with twins

Thursday, August 13, 1998


- A red Vauxhall Cavalier - registration 91 DL 2554 - is stolen in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan

Saturday, August 15, 1998


2pm - The same car, now carrying the fake registration MDZ 5211, is driven into Market Street and parked outside SD Kells clothes shop. Two men are seen walking away in the direction of Campsie Road


Spanish tourist Gonzalo Cavedo standing in front of the car containing the bomb which exploded in Omagh

2.30pm - 2.35pm - UTV and the Samaritans receive bomb warnings which mention Omagh courthouse and 'Main Street' - which does not exist

2.31pm - 3.10pm - Police begin to evacuate the area. 

They cordon off High Street and move shoppers and shop owners down to Market Street before commencing a search round the courthouse.

Most people are now assembled in Market Street, just yards from the car bomb

The aftermath of the Omagh bombing

3.10pm - A 500lb car bomb is detonated with a remote trigger. The explosion tears through Market Street. 

21 people are killed instantly.

A water main under the road ruptures and gallons of water gush out, washing some of the dead and badly injured down the hill

3.10pm - The emergency operation begins. 

Shelves and doors are used as makeshift stretchers.

Buses are commandeered from the nearby Ulsterbus station and British army helicopters are used to help take the 300 injured to hospital. 

Omagh's leisure centre is transformed into an incident centre, with hundreds of relatives gathering there waiting for news on loved ones. 

A temporary morgue is set up in a British Army base in the town

An aerial view of the devastation caused in Omagh after the bombing. Picture by MoD Crown Copyright, Press Association

Sunday, August 16, 1998


Relatives of those people still unaccounted for wait at the leisure centre overnight.

Midday - The identity of the 28th victim who died on the day is revealed. (Sixty-one-year Sean McGrath would die a month later from injuries suffered in the blast.)

British prime minister Tony Blair, president Mary McAleese, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, US president Bill Clinton, Queen Elizabeth and local politicians all voice their condemnation. 

Sinn Féin leaders including Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness also condemn the attack - the first time they had unequivocally denounced a republican paramilitary bombing

Sinn Féin politicians Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams condemned the attack

Secretary of State Mo Mowlam

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