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Derry bomb was attempt to 'murder' police officers, says PSNI

Police discovered a bomb which they believe was placed underneath a car by the New IRA.

The command wire initiated improvised explosive device.
The command wire initiated improvised explosive device.
Image: PSNI

Updated Tue 8:28 PM

A BOMB IN Derry last night was an attempt to murder police officers, the PSNI has said. 

A viable explosive device was discovered yesterday evening in the Creggan area of the city, with dissident group the New IRA believed to be responsible. 

The bomb was found during a PSNI investigation in the area. Police came under attack from petrol bombs last night during the search operation. 

Assistant Chief Constable of the PSNI Mark Hamilton said today that the bomb was intended to “murder police officers”.

“We believe that the New IRA were behind this. We believe that the New IRA want to drive policing out of Creggan. We believe they want to deny the people of Creggan the right to phone the police about the most ordinary things anyone in our society should have a right to phone the police about,” he said. 

The explosive device, he said, would “definitely” have killed anyone standing near it. 

“There is a concerted effort at the minute to murder your police officers in your communities,” Hamilton said. 

A number of residents in Creggan Heights were evacuated from their homes as officers from the PSNI carried out last night’s investigation.

The PSNI said that between 60 and 100 people were gathered in Creggan, with many targeting officers with petrol bombs. 

pic 2 (1) The vehicle where the device was located, parked in a driveway metres from a nearby property.

At the time of the attack the PSNI took to Facebook saying that it was “liaising with community representatives to prevent further escalation”. 

“This operation is about making sure our community is safe. Please support us as we work as quickly a we can to make this happen and get people back into their homes,” it said. 

Footage of the attack, which was condemned by local politicians, later emerged on social media. 

DUP leader Arlene Foster praised the work of the PSNI. “Those who cling to the bomb & bullet try to use their community as a shield. For the sake of the next generation, these people need to be removed from our streets,” she said. 

pic 3 (1) The device and command wire.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O’Neill said on Twitter that “those involved have nothing to offer the people of Derry and our society”.

“These organisations should cease these reckless actions and disband immediately. Our society will not be dragged backward,” she added. 

Colum Eastwood MLA, SDLP leader, said: “The brutal and sustained attack that officers have come under while trying to make our community safe is disgusting.

“Young people in this community are being manipulated and are risking their futures as a result. I would urge parents to contact their children and take them out of harm’s way.”

The violence comes days after a mortar bomb was placed underneath a car near a police station in Strabane, in Tyrone on Saturday.

A 33-year-old man was arrested following what was described by PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne as “another callous attempt to kill or maim our officers”. 

Additional reporting from Conor McCrave

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