Belfast Telegraph

Derry pipe-bomb attack could have killed anyone in vicinity

BY REBECCA BLACK AND GARRETT HARGAN

A pipe-bomb thrown at a police car in Londonderry could have killed officers and civilians if it had detonated as designed, the PSNI has said.

Two officers were on a routine neighbourhood patrol near the Long Tower Church when the object was thrown at their car.

The attack caused disruption as residents from Charlotte Street, including elderly people and young children, were evacuated from their homes to allow Army bomb experts to deal with the device.

Charlotte Street remained cordoned off till 1pm yesterday when Army experts deemed it safe for residents to return home.

PSNI area commander Chief Inspector Jon Burrows said that not only were the lives of his officers put at risk, but also the lives of any civilians nearby. He believes that dissident republicans were behind the attack.

"This was a viable device capable of causing death or serious injury," he said. "Four families were put out of their homes last night, and we also had disruption to a local school, nursery and a Mass service.

"The officers in question are back on duty today and out serving the public and we will be offering them any support they require," he said.

Meanwhile, police in Scotland have arrested a number of people on suspicion of involvement with dissident republicans.

They were arrested yesterday in a number of raids carried out by Scottish police with support from the PSNI and MI5.

The suspects were being held in Glasgow at the high security Govan police station.

Police Scotland said the suspects were being questioned on suspicion of committing various offences.

It is believed the arrests were in connection with intelligence gathering and the possible organising of attacks or safe houses in Northern Ireland.

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Ruaraidh Nicolson said the operation was focused on people who are sympathetic to dissident republicans, but not affiliated to any particular group.

Mr Nicolson, head of the organised crime and counter terrorism, said: "Police Scotland has led the operation which has involved a number of officers, including specialist units, and public safety has been a priority.

"We are confident as a result of these arrests there is no risk to the public. It would be inappropriate to comment further."

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