Bomb found, suspects arrested ahead of visit by Hillary Clinton to Northern Ireland


About 100 loyalists protest outside an Alliance Party office in east Belfast, Northern Ireland, on December 4, 2012 after city councillors voted not to fly the British flag all year round, police said.



Four men were arrested after a bomb was found in Northern Ireland shortly before a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The finding of the car bomb in Londonderry comes after days of sectarian unrest in Northern Ireland, according to The New York Times.

Clinton condemned recent violence in Northern Ireland. 

"We have seen this week the work is not complete and I join in condemning the recent attacks," she said.

"There will always be disagreements in democratic society but violence is never an acceptable response. All parties need to confront the remaining challenge of sectarian divisions, peacefully together." 

Police have been investigating the activity of dissidents who have broken away from the mainstream Republican movement to oppose British sovereignty in Northern Ireland, the paper added.

Britain's Evening Standard cited witnesses as saying that police rammed the vehicle and the army bomb disposal unit was called in after officers became suspicious about its contents.

The paper cited a spokeswoman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland as saying:

"Detectives from the serious crime branch investigating ongoing dissident republican activity in the Londonderry area arrested four males in the Creggan area of the city last night. At approximately 8.40pm, police stopped a car and subsequently arrested two males aged 47 and a male aged 40 after the discovery of what is believed to be a viable IED (improvised explosive device). A fourth male aged 41 was arrested nearby."

She declined to specify the bomb's size.

According to the Associated Press, Clinton will be in Belfast, 80 miles away, meeting the Protestant and Catholic leaders of Northern Ireland's five-year-old unity government that her husband — President Bill Clinton — was instrumental in creating via the US-brokered Good Friday peace accord of 1998.

She was due to meet Northern Ireland's First and Deputy First Ministers at Stormont Friday morning.

Referring to the suspects as "IRA," the AP wrote that while most IRA members renounced violence and disarmed in 2005, several splinter groups remained.