Yet another Irish republican group declared a cease-fire Saturday amid a wave of revulsion across northern and southern Ireland against a car bomb that killed 28 people a week ago in Omagh.
The Irish National Liberation Army, a particularly violent group, proclaimed that "armed struggle can never be the only option for revolutionaries."Silence fell on grieving Omagh, where more than 20,000 Protestants and Catholics packed the town center Saturday to remember, through their sobs and tears, those killed in the Aug. 15 bombing.
Hundreds of thousands more marked the slaughter - the worst in three decades of violence in Northern Ireland - with one minute's silence in town squares, churches, sports stadiums and shopping centers across Ireland.
Prime Minister Tony Blair's office said he will visit the province on Tuesday to express his belief that the Omagh bomb had brought the people of Northern Ireland closer together.
On Saturday morning, the Irish National Liberation Army admitted mistakes and pledged a cease-fire.
The so-called Real IRA, a group of Irish Republican Army dissidents that claimed responsibility for the Omagh attack, said Wednesday that it had "suspended" its violent campaign.
The INLA, founded in 1975 and an opponent of April's peace accord, said Saturday it would respect the deal because the majority of Irish people had ratified it.
"We recognize that armed struggle can never be the only option for revolutionaries," said the statement, read at a Belfast news conference by the group's reputed commander, Willie Gallagher.
The statement offered what it called "a sincere, heartfelt and genuine apology" for the innocent people it had killed. But the group said it had "nothing to apologize for" in its killing of British soldiers, police, prison officers and Protestant militants.
At the ceremony outside the courthouse in Omagh, leaders of the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian churches in Ireland stood shoulder to shoulder. To one side, stood Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, reputed former IRA commanders and today leaders of the Sinn Fein party; to the other, the Protestant and Catholic heads of Northern Ireland's newborn cross-community government, David Trimble and Seamus Mallon.