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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 17 February, 2020
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Derry courthouse bomb had 50kg of homemade explosives

Police in Derry said a device outside the city’s courthouse yesterday – which saw significant evacuations – was substantial.

Image: Paul Faith/PA Archive

POLICE IN DERRY have revealed that a major explosive device left outside the city’s courthouse last night contained 110lb of home-made explosives that could have caused major damage – and resulted in fatalities.

A number of controlled explosions were carried out on the device, which was left in the back of a stolen vehicle which was abandoned outside the courthouse, on Bishop Street in the city centre.

The 50kg-or-so of explosive was hidden in a beer keg.

Chief superintendent Stephen Martin told UTV News that the bomb was big enough to have “killed or injured” a significant number of passers-by.

A telephone bomb warning was submitted over the device yesterday evening, which led to a number of elderly residents having to be evacuated from a nearby residence.

“The people who planted this bomb knew they were going to disturb people from this home, so much so that they rang them to tell them about the bomb,” Martin added.

Fifteen choirboys – some as young as seven – also had to be evacuated from a nearby cathedral, where they were practising for an upcoming production of Tosca.

Martin later told the BBC he believed the device would have been the work of “either the Real IRA or Oglaigh na hÉireann”.

Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson said the device did not represent the views of the majority of the people of Derry. “We are all of the view that an attack on any place in this city is an attack on us all,” she said.

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Gavan Reilly

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