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Derry bomb attack: Continued disruption in city centre as police investigation continues
21 Jan 2019
Four men arrested in connection with a car bomb attack in Derry on Saturday night remain in police custody this morning. Two men in their 20s and a 34-year-old and 42-year-old man were arrested on Sunday. The car bomb exploded outside Bishop Street courthouse on Saturday night (January 19) at around 8.10pm whilst the area was still being evacuated. Police have said they believe dissident republican group the ‘New IRA’ were behind the explosion. The wreckage of the vehicle remains at Bishop Street this morning whilst police continue their investigation. CCTV footage from the area released by the PSNI show firstly the driver of the car running away from the scene after abandoning the car. Further footage reveals a group of young people passing the vehicle before the bomb detonated unaware that it contained an explosive device. The device was contained a pizza delivery vehicle which had been hijacked in the city around 6pm on Saturday. The driver of the car was lured to an address at Quarry Street in the Brandywell area, under pretence of making a delivery before being threatened at gunpoint. The car was abandoned in Bishop Street around 7.25pm on Saturday. A warning was then phoned into a branch of the Samaritans in the West Midlands in England who then relayed the information to the PSNI. A youth group who had been meeting at a church on the city’s Walls were amongst those evacuated away from the area on Saturday night. Guests at Bishop’s Gate Hotel and approximately 150 people attending a charity quiz at the nearby Masonic Hall were also in the area when the device exploded. Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr John Boyle strongly condemned the attack and urged anyone with any information to come forward and assist the authorities with their investigations. He said: “I am absolutely appalled by this terrible act of violence last night , right in the heart of our city centre. I utterly condemn this attack that could easily have resulted in loss of life of injury. The perpetrators do not speak for the people of Derry and Strabane and I would urge anyone with any information to contact the authorities so we can bring the perpetrators to justice.” Church of Ireland services at St Augustine’s Church and St Columb’s Cathedral were cancelled on Sunday morning, but a service was held at the Cathedral later on Sunday afternoon. The PSNI have said there will be continued disruption in Bishop Street today and that the street will remain closed from Bishops Gate down to the Bishop’s Gate Hotel-which remains open for business. Bishop Street car park remains closed with no access to vehicles/pedestrians. Police have also said that whilst they are aware that a number of people are seeking the return of their vehicles, but they added that this cannot be facilitated due to the continuing police operation. Those due to attend for jury service at the city’s courthouse on Monday have been told to report tomorrow, Tuesday January 21 instead. Meanwhile, all other court proceedings due to take place in Derry today will be split between other courthouses across the North West. And, Police and Community Safety Partnership Chairperson Alderman Mary Hamilton also condemned the attack in the city centre. Speaking on the incident Alderman Hamilton stated: “Those who planted the bomb in our city centre have no thoughts for our citizens or visitors. The attack was totally indiscriminate and we cannot allow these criminal elements to try to exert any kind of coercive control over our people. I would urge anyone with any information to come forward immediately to help bring those responsible to justice.”
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