A TOP IRA suspect was under armed guard last night in hospital.

He was found with face and arm injuries, and according to

authoritative security sources has been questioned about a terrorist

missile which they believe exploded prematurely.

The man was arrested when a taxi, apparently heading for the border,

was stopped near Newtownstewart, County Tyrone. He was taken to Tyrone

County Hospital, Omagh, then to Altnagelvin, Londonderry, before being

transferred to a hospital in Belfast.

Hours earlier on Saturday night police found the remains of a mortar

bomb which had crashed through the roof of a barn near Cookstown, County


Security forces believe the missile, detonated from the back of a van,

may have been gone off prematurely.

Just before that a gang of masked gunmen took over a house in the

area, holding a family hostage before seizing the van and then a car

which was later found abandoned.

The bomb incident and the man's arrest on Sunday have not been

officially linked by the RUC, but security sources have confirmed that

the man under arrest is a suspected IRA leader in east Tyrone.

Meanwhile, Orange Order parades in Northern Ireland ended last night

without any major trouble. Nine people were arrested in disturbances

hours before the demonstrations started but the rallies, involving an

estimated 85,000 Orangemen and women, many from Scotland, passed free of


Police and troops remained on duty until public houses closed.

The rallies at 19 separate venues had the potential to cause

considerable disorder close to a number of nationalist areas.

There was a brief scuffle between police officers and some Roman

Catholics who tried to hoist an Irish Tricolour flag in protest at the

route of a parade in Dungannon, County Tyrone.

A couple arrested were later released, but RUC headquarters in Belfast

confirmed last night there had been no reports of any serious incidents.

Earlier however, in the hours before the parades started, police and

troops were pelted with stones, bottles, and petrol bombs during minor

rioting in Belfast, Londonderry, Newtownards, County Down, and near

Ballycastle, County Antrim. Plastic bullets were fired to break up the

gangs. No-one was injured.

Both the British and Irish Governments were denounced by Orange Order

leaders and some Ulster Unionist MPs, including Mr James Molyneaux, held

out little hope for an early resumption of all-party talks on the future

of Northern Ireland.