REPORTS that a 1000lb dissident bomb was discovered during the security alert on the Newry A1 bypass on Wednesday, have been categorically denied by police, this afternoon.
Several media outlets claimed police had foiled one of the biggest devices ever made by dissident republicans.
However, in a statement released this afternoon, Newry and Mourne police commander, Chief Inspector Sam Cordner said items removed from the suspect van for investigation were neither a bomb or a viable device.
"These items recovered from the rear of the vehicle are currently being examined but we can confirm at this stage that this was NOT a bomb", said the police commander, who revealed that a number of controlled explosions had been carried out on a white Volvo van.
"This was NOT a viable device. However, we believe that the items were components which had the potential to be used in the making of a bomb", he added.
It is believed the security operation on the A1 Newry road at Cloghogue – part of the upgraded carriageway between Dublin and Belfast, disrupted cross-border trade, putting off hundreds of southern bargain hunters bound for towns such as Newry and Banbridge.
READ THE FULL STORY AND REACTION TO GUN ATTACK ON CROSSMAGLEN POLICE STATION IN TOMORROW'S NEWS LETTER
Chief Inspector Cordner, said dissident terrorists wanted "to drag us back to the past", but said his officers would continue to deliver a policing service.
"Officers will continue to look after the policing needs of all our people and will put in place whatever measures are necessary to take a robust stance against those who seem determined to disrupt and attack local communities.
"But we need the continued support of the local community to be able to do this efficiently and effectively and to alienate those who continue to be involved in terrorism and criminality", said the Chief Inspector.