Dissidents don't care who they kill, says SDLP's Eastwood
SDLP leader lashes out at terrorists after bomb left in a residential area
A bomb planted in a residential street in Londonderry shows the total disregard that dissident republicans have for their community, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has said.
Police released pictures of the viable device, which was set to be triggered using a command wire and was left in a car close to houses in the Creggan area.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said it was designed to murder his officers but would have killed anyone in close proximity if it had exploded.
The bomb was discovered during an extensive police search operation that began on Monday morning and saw 15 families evacuated from their homes in Creggan Heights.
Mr Eastwood said the terrorists did not care who they killed.
"The discovery of this bomb again underlines that violent dissident republicans are ramping up their efforts to break our peace and murder people in our community," he added.
"The people of this city and people across this island have rejected those who have tried to divide us with violence. We will reject them again.
"Those responsible like to think that they are in an ages-old battle with Crown forces in Ireland. They are not.
"They have set themselves against the peaceful and democratic wishes of the people of Ireland. Their fight is with us and they will never win."
Around 80 police officers took part in the search operation at Creggan Heights targeting the dissident republican New IRA, which was blamed for a failed mortar attack on the PSNI in Strabane on Saturday.
Mr Hamilton said: "During the operation a crowd of 60 to 100 persons gathered, some of whom attacked police vehicles with missiles and 40 petrol bombs.
"The army bomb disposal team made safe a command wire-initiated improvised explosive device. We assess that this device was to be used against a police patrol in the Creggan area of the city. It is our assessment that the New IRA was responsible for this bomb. The bomb would have killed or maimed anyone near it when it detonated.
"While it is the clear intention of the New IRA to murder community police officers trying to keep the community in Derry/Londonderry safe, it is also very clear that the New IRA have a total disregard for the lives of everyone living in Creggan.
"By bringing a viable bomb into the community, they have again proved that they have no regard for the lives of anyone living in Creggan.
"Once again they exploited some of the young people in the community to attack police and have brought disruption and misery to families.
"We want to thank the community for their patience during this public safety operation.
"We know the impact this has had, especially on residents who had to leave their homes. A full terrorist investigation has been commenced and we would ask anyone with any information about this bomb or the disorder that occurred to contact police in Strand Road."
Foyle MP Elisha McCallion said the dissident group had nothing to offer.
The Sinn Fein representative added: "Those responsible for leaving this device in such a built up area put the whole local community at risk.
"Those responsible have once again shown their complete and total disregard for the local community.
"They have nothing to offer the people of Derry and need to call an end to these reckless and futile actions immediately."