Belfast Telegraph

Police arrest further two men in connection with Londonderry car bomb attack

  • Police have released CCTV footage of the car bomb exploding
  • Police confirm vehicle hijacked by two masked men from a delivery driver in Quarry Street
  • Delivery driver held at a house after van was hijacked
  • Children had to be evacuated from nearby church youth club
  • Army technical officers are at the scene of the blast

By Mark Edwards

Detectives investigating the car bomb explosion outside a court house in Londonderry have arrested two further people in connection with the attack.

A PSNI spokesperson said the men, aged 34 and 42, were arrested in the city on Sunday evening.

Two other men, arrested on Sunday morning, remain in police custody.

The arrests come after police released dramatic CCTV of the moment the suspected New IRA car bomb exploded on Bishop Street last night.

The PSNI released the footage on social media. The series of tweets shows the vehicle being driven to the courthouse, the driver running away from the car, and then the car exploding.

Police have also released footage of a group of young people walking past the car just minutes before it exploded.

Police have said that at around 7.55pm on Saturday night officers on patrol in Bishop Street spotted the suspicious vehicle.

The officers were making checks when information was received that a device had been left at the court house.

A bomb exploded inside a car at the courthouse on Saturday night. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

A delivery man was hijacked at around 6pm by at least two armed men and was then held at a house.

A bomb was then put in the car and driven to the court house.

A bomb warning phone call was made to the West Midlands Samaritans who then informed West Midlands Police who in turn passed the information to the PSNI. 

The PSNI managed to evacuate the surrounding area within 30 minutes of the car being left outside the court house.

Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Hamilton said on Sunday morning that the PSNI has made two arrests in connection with the incident and that the New IRA was the main line of inquiry. Both men are in their twenties.

"Fortunately it didn't kill anybody and it didn't cause widespread damage," ACC Hamilton continued.

"It was a significant attempt to kill people in this community. This bomb was placed in a car and left here for the people of this community and the local police service to deal with.

"The local community and police service acted bravely.

"It detonated just as we were leaving the area. By good grace, local people weren't killed.

"We had people socialising in the area, in the hotels, and this bomb was being moved through an area with people's homes nearby.

"It was a highly crude device," he continued.

"This was a callous act, a deliberate act against the people of Derry.

"It was a deliberate attempt to harm people."

In a statement released on Sunday morning ACC Hamilton said: "We moved immediately to begin evacuating people from nearby buildings including hundreds of hotel guests, 150 people from the Masonic Hall and a large number of children from a church youth club."

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley has said those behind the bomb attack will not prevail.

"This attempt to disrupt progress in Northern Ireland has rightly been met with utter condemnation from all parts of the community," she said.

"The small number of people responsible have absolutely nothing to offer Northern Ireland's future and will not prevail.

"Our voices across the political spectrum are united. This is intolerable violence and we want to look forward and build a peaceful future for all in Northern Ireland.

"Thank you to the PSNI and emergency services who are working so hard to keep people safe and secure."

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

Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said a number of businesses affected by the attack had opened as normal on Sunday.

"We are a resilient bunch in the hospitality sector and this incident last night will not deter us from opening today and getting on with the job," he said.

"We have been in touch with many of the businesses impacted by the situation in Bishop Street and the surrounding area and they have bounced back straightaway, opening for business with normal trading hours and welcoming visitors and tourists back to the city."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph