Londonderry bomb: Court remains closed after explosion


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Media captionThe moment the bomb exploded

There will continue to be disruption on Monday around the scene of a bomb explosion in Londonderry.

Bishop Street Courthouse will remain closed following the blast on Saturday.

The PSNI said the attack may have been carried out by the New IRA, a dissident republican group, and have arrested four men – two aged in their 20s, one aged 32 and another aged 42.

They said a pizza delivery man had a gun held to his head when his vehicle was hijacked for the bombing.

The police said the area will remain closed from Bishop’s Gate down to the Bishop’s Gate Hotel.

At the courthouse, jury trials due to be held have been put off until Tuesday.

Cases listed to be heard in the magistrate’s courts will now be held in Strabane, with some other hearings switching to Coleraine.

Image copyright PAcemaker

Bishop Street car park remains closed with no access to vehicles or pedestrians.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, the PSNI said: “We are aware that a number of people are seeking the return of their vehicles – unfortunately this cannot be facilitated due to the continuing police operation.

“We would like to thank the community for their patience and support.”

The police released CCTV footage of the moment the bomb exploded in a car that had previously been hijacked.

Driver ‘threatened and intimidated’

Another CCTV clip, posted on Twitter, showed a group of young people walking past the vehicle shortly before the blast.

PSNI Supt Gordon McCalmont told BBC Radio Foyle that the police were “trying to get the city back to normal and show that this attack has had little or no long-term impact”.

He said the PSNI “reflected long and hard on whether or not” to release the CCTV footage of the explosion and added it was “lucky we are not talking about loss of life”.

Supt McCalmont also said the pizza delivery driver “had to go through the drama of having a firearm put to his head”.

“My thoughts are with that man today, He was threatened and intimidated. It would be fair to say he was asked not to raise the alarm.”

What is the New IRA?

  • The New IRA was formed in 2012 after a number of dissident republican organisations said they were unifying under one leadership
  • It is believed to be the largest dissident republican organisation
  • The group is believed to have been responsible for a number of attacks since its formation, including the murders of prison officers David Black and Adrian Ismay.

He added: “We will obviously review how we deal with these situations but these groupings obviously want us to respond. We will be very balanced. This threat has always been in this city.

“My sense is that this is not because of Brexit.”

Londonderry’s city centre manager Jim Roddy told BBC Radio Foyle he was out walking when he got a call to say a car had been abandoned on Bishop Street.

“We could be looking at many deaths today,” Mr Roddy said.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption The vehicle on fire after an explosion

“There’s been a lot of disruption but thankfully no one has been injured.

“Witnessing Saturday night was quite difficult as somebody who loves and tries to promote this city.

“Bishop Street will be closed all day and dozens of cars are still in the nearby car park. We’ll be making representation to Transport NI to make sure no one gets tickets.”

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