The owner of the Everglades Hotel in Derry, which was badly damaged in a bomb attack this morning, said they plan to re-open tomorrow morning.

Sir William Hastings, Chairman of Hastings Hotels, which owns the Everglades Hotel, described the attack as 'despicable'.

The reception area of the hotel was badly damaged in an explosion earlier this morning.

Police said a man threw a device into the reception area of the Everglades Hotel at 11.15pm last night.

The hotel was evacuated and a bomb disposal team was sent to the hotel.

However, police said that while they were working on the device it exploded around 2am.

No one was injured as a result of the explosion.

Around guests at the Everglades were taken to the City Hotel following the evacuation.

Among the guests were people who had travelled to Derry for a funeral.

A burnt out car found a short time later at Foyle Road in Derry is believed to be linked to the hotel attack.

A PSNI spokesperson this morning praised the quick actions of the hotel staff in evacuating the building and raising the alarm.

No organisation has claimed responsibility for the hotel attack.

The Everglades Hotel hosted a recruitment event for the PSNI on May 22 and was due to host a similar event next week.

The Walled City Marathon is due to start at the Everglades Hotel on Sunday morning.

Around 1,500 runners are due to take part in the race.

Organisers of the marathon said the start of the race will go ahead as planned outside the Everglades.

Mr Hastings said said it was 'extremely sad' that his staff had to deal with such a 'traumatic experience'.

"I would like to praise the General Manager, Neil Devlin, recently named Hotel Manager of the Year for Northern Ireland, and his excellent team for acting so quickly and professionally to avert a major atrocity.

"This has caused real damage to the prosperity of the city from both a commercial and tourism point of view.

"The main loser here is the city of Derry~Londonderry, a city which does not deserve this after the excellent work in attracting more and more visitors in recent years.

"This despicable action has the potential to damage the tourism industry in Derry~Londonderry but with my experience of the people in the city and their resolve I am confident this will not deflect them from their efforts to help continue to take the city forward.

"The damage has been contained to the reception area and staff are already hard at work to ensure the hotel is back open for business tomorrow morning to provide the people of and visitors to the city with a warm welcome and a first-class service.”

Among those to condemn the bomb attack was Foyle MP Mark Durkan.

"People of Derry won't see this as an attack against a particular site but, in fact, an attack against the whole city.

"So many people are working hard to move the city forward, but those behind this device are trying to drag us all back to worse times. Such methods demonstrate only a negative, violent capacity, not a viable strategy or credible rationale.

"The nature of the device, and the manner of this reckless attack, show that they are a threat to anyone and everyone. That is why we must be united and strong in rejecting their ways, and affirming peace and progress as our chosen determined collective right."

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