Dissident republicans are suspected of being behind a grenade attack on police in Londonderry.
The incident happened as officers were dealing with a security alert in the Southway Road area in Creggan yesterday.
Several homes had been evacuated and Army explosives experts had been called to the scene to examine a suspicious object.
While they were sealing off the scene a man is understood to have thrown a hand grenade at police and made off in the direction of Kildrun Gardens.
It failed to explode and had to be dealt with by explosives experts. Police described the device as “viable”.
Suspicions are that dissidents may have staged the alert to lure police into the area for the grenade attack.
Police Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin said: “It is only by sheer good fortune that we do not have a fatality on our hands.
“I am appalled at the callous disregard and recklessness of those who threw the grenade at police, especially as a number of children were close to officers at the time of the attack.
“My officers should be allowed to carry out their duties without the added pressure of misguided individuals intent on causing them harm.”
New SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan said the people of Derry were disgusted by the attack.
Mr Durkan said: “This dangerous attack could have led to serious injury or loss of life for the police trying to serve our community.
“It could also have had a detrimental impact on police response times to any criminal incidents, particularly in the Creggan area of our city.
“This type of activity is futile, senseless and is rejected by the majority of people in Derry.
“I strongly appeal to anyone with information on those responsible to pass it on to the police immediately.”
There have been numerous dissident attacks on police in Derry in recent years.
This latest incident comes after a masked man read out a statement from the Real IRA threatening to kill nationalist police officers at an Easter Rising commemoration in the city last month.