British carry out Derry bomb blast
British carry out Derry bomb blast

Several people were caught up in a “controlled explosion” by the British Army on a hoax device outside a police station in Derry.

The blast followed a bomb alert outside Strand Road PSNI base.

Armed republican militants had earlier loaded a Derry City Council recycling wheelie bin into the back of the van and ordered the driver to leave it outside Strand Road police station.

The driver was warned his actions would be monitored along the way. After parking up, he ran into Strand Road station and alerted the PSNI to the suspect device.

The area was sealed off and scores of people were evacuated from nearby shops, offices and the North West Institute of Further and Higher Education.

However, the powerful explosion to ‘defuse’ the device sent debris flying wll beyond the security cordon.

Representatives of the International Monitoring Commission which monitors paramilitary ceasefires were visiting Derry yesterday when the alert took place.

In a statement, the police said the driver did not know the city well and on reaching the outskirts of Derry had to stop and ask a passer-by for directions to the police station.

“This was a Donegal man who did not know Derry well so he was very shaken by the time he got here and ran out to raise the alarm,” a spokesman said.

The police also warned that dissident republicans could launch a fire bomb blitz on Derry businesses in the run-up to Christmas.

Business owners in the city have been warned of a potential repeat of last year’s incendiary attacks on a number of stores.

Local Sinn Féin representative, Raymond McCartney, said: “This type of incident does nothing to further the republican cause.

“I would say to all micro groups to consider their actions because they are not serving the interests of the republican struggle.

“All they are doing is providing excuses for people to bring the city centre to a halt and there is no support for that.”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News