Derry explosion: Security alert ongoing

Crawford Square is cordoned off as security forces investigate last night's explosion. ''Photo Lorcan Doherty Presseye.com
Crawford Square is cordoned off as security forces investigate last night's explosion. ''Photo Lorcan Doherty Presseye.com
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A security alert is continuing in Derry after an explosion in the Crawford Square area of the city last night.

Police say Crawford Square is closed to traffic this morning while they and British Army bomb disposal experts investigate the explosion which occurred at around 10:55pm last night.

There were no injuries following the suspected blast. A number of residents were evacuated from their homes.

The North’s Justice Minister David Ford has said the explosion in Derry was an attack on the entire community. He confirmed the Probation Service office in the area was damaged in the blast.

“It put the lives of local people at risk and forced them to leave their homes. Reports of a second device clearly show the intent to cause injury.

“Damage was also caused to local businesses, including the Probation Service, who provide an invaluable service protecting the community through managing offenders and helping them reintegrate into the community.”

PSNI

PSNI

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood said the blast went off before police arrived on the scene. He said a warning, made in a phonecall to a charity, was inadequate.

“They gave a warning but it was one of no use which was perhaps deliberate. The device exploded before the police arrived,” he said.

“I do not understand why they think this sort of activity could take us anywhere. There is no point in a campaign of violence. It has never worked and will never work.”

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney condemned those responsible.

“Thankfully no one was injured as a result of this reckless attack in a built-up residential area.

“This has brought nothing but disruption to the lives of local people and to the city generally with the closure Northland Road, one of the main arterial routes ‎in the city.

“This is a city moving forward and the people have made it clear that they do not want these type of incidents.

“We will not allow a tiny minority to drag us back to the past,” he said.