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New IRA Responsible For Bomb Blast In Londonderry

There is an ongoing security alert in Londonderry less than 48 hours after an explosion in the city centre on Saturday night.

The alert on Circular Road in the Creggan area follows a report of a vehicle being hijacked by three masked men shortly before 11:30 GMT on Monday.

Police said the men reportedly “threw an object in the back of it” before abandoning the vehicle. A number of cordons have been put in place and houses have been evacuated.

A community centre in Central Drive has been made available to people who have been affected. It follows continued disruption around the scene of Saturday’s bomb outside Bishop Street Courthouse.

The PSNI said the attack may have been carried out by the New IRA, a dissident republican group. On Monday, police arrested a fifth man in connection with the bombing.

The 50-year-old man has also been arrested in connection with an armed robbery in the Meadowbank Avenue area of the city last Tuesday.

Four other men, two in their 20s and two others, one aged 32 and one aged 42, remain in police custody.

Police said a pizza delivery man had a gun held to his head as his vehicle was hijacked and then used in the bombing.

One CCTV clip posted on Twitter by police showed a group of young people walking past the vehicle shortly before the blast. At the courthouse, scheduled jury trials have been put off until Tuesday. Cases listed to be heard in the magistrate’s courts are being held in Strabane, with some other hearings switching to Coleraine. A police cordon has now been reduced but Bishop Street car park still remains closed.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, the PSNI said: “We are aware that a number of people are seeking the return of their vehicles – unfortunately this cannot be facilitated due to the continuing police operation. “We would like to thank the community for their patience and support.”

PSNI Supt Gordon McCalmont told BBC Radio Foyle that the police were trying to get the city back to normal and show the attack had “little or no long-term impact”. He said the PSNI it was “lucky we are not talking about loss of life”.

Supt McCalmont also said the pizza delivery driver “had to go through the drama of having a firearm put to his head”. “My thoughts are with that man today, He was threatened and intimidated. “It would be fair to say he was asked not to raise the alarm.”

What Is The New IRA?

The New IRA was formed in 2012 after a number of dissident republican organisations said they were unifying under one leadership

It is believed to be the largest dissident republican organisation

The group is believed to have been responsible for a number of attacks since its formation, including the murders of prison officers David Black and Adrian Ismay. He added: “These groupings obviously want us to respond. We will be very balanced. This threat has always been in this city. “My sense is that this is not because of Brexit.”

Londonderry’s city centre manager Jim Roddy told BBC Radio Foyle he was out walking when he got a call to say a car had been abandoned on Bishop Street. “We could be looking at many deaths today,” Mr Roddy said.
“There’s been a lot of disruption but thankfully no one has been injured. “Witnessing Saturday night was quite difficult as somebody who loves and tries to promote this city. “Dozens of cars are still in the nearby car park. We’ll be making representation to Transport NI to make sure no one gets tickets.”