The armed group known as Oglaigh na hEireann has said it planted a device near Derry’s courthouse which caused a major bomb alert on Sunday evening and Monday morning.
A warning was made to the Samaritans at around 6.45pm on Sunday. The device was set to detonate an hour and 30 minutes after the warning call, which gave the British army time to defuse it.
The PSNI said the 50kg bomb was made up of homemade explosives and contained in a beer keg. It said it was a “substantial viable device” and that it forced the evacuation of both pensioners and choirboys from the surrounding area.
Journalists quoting ‘Oglaigh na hEireann sources’ said the organisation claimed responsibility for the attack and that the bomb contained 200lbs of explosives, including high-powered Semtex.
The incident was condemned by Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the unionist parties.
Local Sinn Fein Assembly member Martina Anderson said: “An attack on any place in this city is an attack on us all.”
Addressing those who left the bomb, she added: “The people’s focus will be back on building for the future as soon as the debris is cleared but you will still be stuck in the past with not a progressive thought between you.”
The group also claimed responsibility yesterday for an attack in west Belfast when a device was thrown at a PSNI patrol near Grosvenor Road barracks. The grenade-style ‘coffee jar’ device missed its target and failed to explode, but nevertheless caused another major alert that lasted several hours.
Another security alert is underway in north Belfast. Two hundred homes were evacuated in the alert which the PSNI said would go on all night.
The alert follows from an incident in which a number of shots were fired in the Glenview Street area of Oldpark on Monday night. Bullet casings were later found at the scene near the Oldpark Road.
The BBC reported that a nun heard the shots. Sister Carmel said she was going to a local shop when she heard bangs and thought children were setting off fireworks.
“As I was coming back from the shop, this man was coming out of the church grounds.
“Next thing, I saw him taking off his gloves, surgical gloves, and he turned to me and said, ‘That’s it finished now,’ and walked off.”
The PSNI has warned that the disruption in the area could last until Thursday.