Belfast Telegraph

Bishop Street: Suspected car bomb explodes outside Londonderry courthouse

  • "No one (is) injured", police said after explosion
  • Police only given a 15-minute warning to evacuate the area
  • Second suspicious car has been checked by police
  • DUP leader Arlene Foster condemns "pointless act of terror"

There has been widespread condemnation after a suspected car bomb exploded in Londonderry city centre on Saturday night.

Police were on the scene when the device went off outside the courthouse on Bishop Street shortly after 8pm. They tweeted a picture of the car on fire after the blast, urging people to "stay away".

It is understood officers were only given a 15 minute warning to evacuated the area before the car bomb went off.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud explosion in the area. It's understood the vehicle was hijacked from a delivery driver before it was abandoned outside the courthouse.

In a statement on Facebook, police in Derry said there were no reports of any injuries.

They said a second suspicious car they were concerned about "has been checked". "We are now just dealing with an extensive crime scene," they said.

A hotel and a number of bars and houses were evacuated.

The people of Derry are resolutely opposed to this. You represent no-one. Stop it now. SDLP leader Colum Eastwood

A PSNI spokesperson said: "Police are in attendance at the scene of an incident in Derry/Londonderry city centre. We would ask for patience and co-operation of the public and the business community as we carry out our initial investigations."

DUP leader Arlene Foster said: "This pointless act of terror must be condemned in the strongest terms."

She said the attack had been "perpetrated by people with no regard for life".

"Grateful to our emergency services for their swift actions which helped ensure there have been no fatalities or injuries," she tweeted.

Police at the scene of a car bomb on Bishop Street in Derry on January 19th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)

Earlier DUP MLA Gary Middleton tweeted: "PSNI have confirmed there were no injuries in the serious incident at Bishop Street. Vehicle hijacked with explosion outside courthouse. Disgraceful act of terrorism."

Condemning the bomb attack, Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion said: “There are many elderly residents who live in the area who have been alarmed by this incident.

“Thankfully no one appears to have been injured in this incident.

“Derry is a city moving forward and no one wants this type of incident. It is not representative of the city.

“I would encourage anyone with information about this incident to bring it to the police.”

Police at the scene of a car bomb on Bishop Street in Derry on January 19th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan said: "Whoever is responsible for this explosion outside Bishop Street Courthouse in Derry clearly hasn't got the message that the people of Derry do not want this on our streets.

"We are trying to move Derry forward and will not let anyone drag us back to the dark days of the past."

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long has also voiced her concern about the incident on Twitter, describing it as “very disturbing news”.

UUP councillor Derek Hussey said: “Those who carried out this act had no thought for the safety and well-being of fellow citizens, much less the hard pressed economy and the impact this will have on the city’s businesses, nor the impression given to visitors to our area."

In a statement, Secretary of State Karen Bradley said: "I am concerned at the reports coming from Londonderry and am being kept informed by the PSNI. I urge anyone with any information to contact the police or Crimestoppers.”

The area remains sealed off.

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