Creggan Heights: Police attacked during security operation in Londonderry

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Media captionResidents living in Creggan Heights have been unable to return home as a security operation continues into a second day

Officers were attacked during a follow-up security operation in the Creggan area of Derry on Monday night, police have said.

Ten petrol bombs were thrown at officers, as well as stones and bottles. No-one was injured.

The operation that followed a dissident republican bomb attack on police in the city on Sunday has now ended.

Police said a number of items had been recovered and would be taken away for examination.

A number of homes in Creggan Heights were evacuated while the police carried out a "scene investigation".

Ch Insp Tony Callaghan said: "At the present time we are not in a position to elaborate on the nature of the device [used in the attack on police]. However, what we can say is that it was sophisticated and designed to murder police officers serving this community.

"We would appeal to the community in Creggan to work with us to identify those responsible for this attack, to prevent further attacks and to allow the people of this area to live their lives free from the threat of terrorism and violence."

'Pyjamas'

Three teenagers aged 13, 14 and 16 have been arrested on suspicion of public order offences following the disorder on Monday night. They are assisting police with their inquiries.

Image caption This woman told the BBC that her children were still wearing their pyjamas as they have been unable to return home since the security operation began on Monday morning

Some residents have told the BBC they were frustrated at the length of time the operation has lasted. One woman who lives in the area said she was "really, really angry".

"I'm standing in the same clothes that I got put out the door in yesterday (Monday) morning," she said.

"My children are sitting in a neighbour's house now and had to sleep on their floor last night.

"They were soaked yesterday hanging around trying to find out what was going to happen. The three of them had to stay off school, their clothes are in the house and they're running around in their pyjamas."

'Volatile'

Sinn Féin councillor Colly Kelly said he had called for the Police Ombudsman to investigate how the operation has been handled.

He said: "It was very a volatile situation with a large group of young people out on the street and a number of residents were out of their homes.

"Several people have complained to me to that officers were heavy handed in their approach and allegations that a young girl was pushed over.

Image copyright Dean McLaughlin
Image caption The police said they hoped residents would be able to return to their homes on Tuesday afternoon

"I have been in contact with the PSNI this morning and raised those concerns."

'Guarantees'

Speaking on BBC Radio Foyle's News at One programme, Ch Insp Callaghan rejected the claims.

He said: "I would just like to say that is absolutely not the case. I would like to remind people of what we are doing in Creggan.

"We're following up on a murderous bid on police officers, an attack on officers carrying out routine patrols, looking to keep people safe in that area, looking to reduce crime.

"I haven't seen any evidence of heavy-handed policing, but the ombudsman's office is there to deal with those complaints."

He also apologised to residents for the delay in allowing them to return home, and said he hoped that most people would be able to enter the area again on Tuesday afternoon.

"There is some hope that we would have people back in their homes later on this afternoon, but we can't give any guarantees," he said.

"This is about getting people back in their homes when it's safe to do so."

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