car bomb explosion
© AFP
The Police Service of Northern Ireland tweeted a photograph of a suspected car bomb outside a courthouse in Londonderry.
Police in Northern Ireland said Sunday they suspect Irish Republican Army dissidents were behind a car bombing outside a courthouse in the city of Derry/Londonderry. Two men in their 20s have been arrested.

The device was placed inside a hijacked delivery vehicle and exploded Saturday night as police, who had received a warning, were evacuating the area. There were no reports of injuries.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland posted a photograph of a vehicle in flames and urged the public to stay away.

Police and army bomb-disposal experts remained at the scene on Sunday.


Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said the bomb had been a "crude" and unstable device, and called the attack "incredibly reckless."

"The people responsible for this attack have shown no regard for the community or local businesses," he said.

'Republican dissidents main line of inquiry"

Hamilton said the "main line of inquiry" was that the bomb had been planted by a group known as the New IRA.


Northern Ireland's power-sharing government has been suspended for two years because of a dispute between the main loyalist and republican political parties. Uncertainty about the future of the Irish border after Brexit is adding to an already tense situation.

John Boyle, who is mayor of the city, said violence "is the past and it has to stay in the past."

'Terrorist attack'

Former Northern Irish first minister Arlene Foster, who heads the province's Democratic Unionist Party, referred to it as a "pointless act of terror", while the Republic of Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called it a "car bomb terrorist attack".


Foster, who leads the pro-British DUP, said: "This pointless act of terror must be condemned in the strongest terms. Only hurts the people of the city.

"Perpetrated by people with no regard for life."

She said the swift actions of the emergency services had helped ensure there were no fatalities or injuries.

Coveney, also Ireland's deputy prime minister, tweeted: "I utterly condemn the car bomb terrorist attack in Derry this evening.

"There is no place and no justification possible for such acts of terror, which seek to drag Northern Ireland back to violence and conflict."

City in shock

Elisha McCallion, the local Member of the British Parliament from the Irish republican party Sinn Fein, condemned the bomb attack.

"This incident has shocked the local community," she said in a statement.

"Thankfully, no one appears to have been injured.

"Derry is a city moving forward and no one wants this type of incident."

A 1998 peace deal mostly ended three decades of conflict that killed 3,600 people and was fought between unionists, who want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom, and nationalists, who want the province to join the Republic.

Some sporadic violence continues among small, splinter groups but car bombings are rare in the province.