Belfast Telegraph

Karen Bradley condemns Derry car bomb attack - a 'truly sickening outcome' avoided

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley has said a "truly sickening outcome" was only narrowly avoided in the car bomb attack in Londonderry at the weekend.

On Saturday night, a car bomb exploded after being left outside Bishop Street Courthouse.

Police were able to clear the scene before the device was detonated after receiving a warning through the Samaritans charity. No one was injured in the blast.

The PSNI has said they believe dissident Republican group the New IRA was behind the attack.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday evening, Ms Bradley said CCTV had revealed "teenagers and others passing by only minutes before the device detonated".

"It is sobering to think that a truly sickening outcome by those responsible was only narrowly averted," she added.

"Those who planned this attack and who placed this crude device in a busy city centre have absolutely no regard for the people who live and work there.

"Those behind this attack will never succeed. Londonderry is a city that has thrived since the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement 20 years ago. Everyone can see that.

"[It is] one that will continue to grow and develop despite the actions of those that would seek to sow discord and division."

Four men were arrested following the bomb attack, while a fifth man was arrested on Monday under the Terrorism Act.

Ms Bradley said the bomb had "absolutely nothing to do with Brexit".

"Nobody should try and draw any connection between what happened on Saturday night and any of the discussions we are having in this place or with our friends in Europe, the attack that happened on Saturday night is a result of a threat level that has been in place since before the Brexit vote," she said.

"These are plots and activities that these people have been working on and trying to carry out for many, many years and we need to be clear with them that those activities are not welcome, the people of Northern Ireland do not want to see this kind of activity on their streets."

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said the car bomb was "probably the most significant attack in recent years" in Northern Ireland.

"These people claim to have a political aim, there were some claims on political websites that this explosion was in relation to the 100th anniversary of the civil war in Ireland," he said.

"They claim some sort of loose political agenda, but generally this is to try and intimidate people and it is a form of extreme criminality.

"If you look at the images you see a man plant a car bomb and then run away, the converse to that is local police officers recruited from the local community run towards the device and help people to get away from it."

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