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Boy of 13 held over street violence after mortar attack

Three youths arrested as security operation after mortar blast continued

By Donna Deeney

Three youths including one aged just 13 were arrested after police were pelted with bricks, bottles and petrol bombs while carrying out an examination of the scene of a mortar attack in the Creggan area of Londonderry, as a row raged over the length of time the operation was taking.

The 13-year-old and two others aged 14 and 16 were arrested on Monday night on suspicion of a number of public order offences as part of the operation. However, one local councillor has asked the Police Ombudsman to investigate the content of a video posted on Facebook which allegedly shows a young woman being shoved to the ground by a police officer.

The security operation ended last night and evacuated people were allowed back into their homes

The video shows the police under a sustained attack by a gang of rampaging young people when one female falls heavily to the ground.

As police carried out their meticulous search yesterday there were mixed views among residents about the events of the previous night.

Geraldine O'Hara said it was one of the most terrifying experiences she had ever witnessed.

She said: "I am too young to remember the really bad times of the Troubles but I can tell you I was really terrified by what happened up here and I wouldn't want another night of it.

"I think the police should have been allowed to get on with what they had to do but the young ones were just hellbent on stopping them and then things just got mental.

"The police jeeps were charging at the young ones but the young ones were throwing anything and everything at them."

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan defended the actions of his officers who were investigating a "murderous bid" on the police.

He said: "I haven't seen any evidence of heavy-handed policing, but the Ombudsman's Office is there to deal with those complaints.

"While we understand that residents are frustrated that the operation has taken some time to complete, this was unavoidable and an absolutely necessary precaution to ensure the safety of the people of this area.

"It is a matter of deep sadness to me that some people took it upon themselves to attack police in the area last night."

Sinn Fein Councillor Colly Kelly said he had met with the PSNI about the video.

He said: "A number of residents have contacted me concerned about some aspects of the policing operation in Creggan on Monday night.

"It was very a volatile situation with a large group of young people out on the street and a number of residents were out of their homes.

"Several have complained to me to that PSNI Tactical Support Unit was heavy handed in their approach and there are allegations that a young girl was pushed over.

"As we have said in the past if the PSNI do a good job we will support them but that would also hold them robustly to account."

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