Belfast bomb alert snarls roads on IRA anniversary

By the Associated Press | September 1, 2014 | 1:05 PM EDT

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness stands in front of the 1916 republican proclamation of independence as he makes a speech to mark the 20th anniversary of the IRA ceasefire at the Rath Mor Sinn Fein Centre in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Sunday Aug. 31, 2014. Today marks the 20th anniversary of the IRA calling a "complete cessation of military operations". (AP Photo / Niall Carson, PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Police say a bomb alert that shut down Belfast's main motorway on the 20th anniversary of the Irish Republican Army cease-fire was the result of an "elaborate hoax."

Monday's closure of the M1 motorway caused traffic chaos as commuters were forced down gridlocked side streets. The three-lane road was reopened after British Army experts using a remote-controlled robot determined that the suspicious device contained no explosives.

The disruption came two decades after the outlawed Provisional IRA called a cease-fire following a failed 24-year campaign to force Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom. The Provisionals abandoned their truce in 1996, restored it a year later, and disarmed and formally renounced violence in 2005.

IRA splinter groups opposed to Northern Ireland's Catholic-Protestant government still mount occasional attacks and frequent hoax threats.