Police Bomb: Residents in Londonderry 'still not home'

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Residents have been out of their homes since yesterday morningImage source, PAcemaker
Image caption,
Residents have been out of their homes since yesterday morning

Residents in Londonderry remain out of their homes after a bomb attack on a serving police officer.

The device, believed to have been planted by "violent dissident republicans", was discovered outside the officer's home on Wednesday.

The bomb was reportedly found under a car at Ardanlee and exploded as Army technical officers tried to defuse it; no one was injured in the blast.

Catholic and Church of Ireland bishops have condemned the attack.

The area remains cordoned off and about a dozen families have not been allowed to return home amid an ongoing security alert.

Image source, Press Eye/Lorcan Doherty
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The device was found under a car at Ardanlee

The vice-chairwoman of Northern Ireland's Policing Board said the attack "would be on the agenda" during a meeting with the Chief Constable, George Hamilton, on Monday.

"This was a live device that fell off a car and the community is very upset," said Debbie Watters.

"At our last board meeting, we were reassured that he (George Hamilton) did have adequate resources.

"Obviously in light of what has happened that is one issue we will question the chief constable on."

Despite the attack, Ms Watters added that she did not believe people would be dissuaded from joining the PSNI.

The Ardanlee bomb is the second attack on a serving police officer in as many months.

'Callous disregard'

The device was intended to kill and inflict harm in the community, said the PSNI's Supt Gordon McCalmont.

"This was an attempt to kill one of my colleagues," he said.

"My thoughts are with my colleague and his family. You can imagine the impact this trauma will have on them."

Image source, Lorcan Doherty
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Supt Gordon McCalmont said 'violent dissident republicans' were behind the bomb

Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry and Bishop Ken Good of Derry and Raphoe said the incident showed a "callous disregard" for life.

"There can never be any justification for such a crime," said the Catholic and Church of Ireland bishops.

"It was wrong. It was evil. And it showed a callous disregard for the lives not only of the police officer targeted by the bombers but of the officer's neighbours too.

"Our people want to move forward - together - to a better and brighter future. The bombers seem intent on taking us backwards and keeping us apart.

"They must not succeed."

'Terrorist scourge'

Both Church leaders urged anyone with information on the "attempted murder" to share it with the PSNI.

Chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland Mark Lindsay said the officer had had a "narrow escape".

"This was an act of cowardice. It was reckless and wanton, and displayed utter disregard for life," Mr Lindsay told the BBC.

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Around a dozen families are said to be out of their homes

"These people are relics of the past and we could have been looking at total carnage yesterday. It was a narrow escape, it's a risk that goes with police officers day and daily.

"It's worth remembering that this Officer was singled out because of the job he does, which is to protect the entire community and rid us of this terrorist scourge."

Image caption,
A number of people have been moved from their homes due to the alert