Vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs has said it carried out the bomb attack on the PSNI in Derry on Saturday and warned that more attacks on security forces will follow.
In a statement, the group said it was responsible for a blast bomb attack which caused significant damage to the front of a PSNI vehicle in the Rathmore Road area of Creggan shortly before 5pm on Saturday.
The bomb, described by RAAD as “a newly developed explosive device,” was thrown at the vehicle while police officers carried out a house search in the area.
The PSNI condemned the attack and described it as an attempt to murder police officers.
It’s the first time the group has admitted targeting the security forces and marks an escalation of its violent actions. RAAD also said that such attacks would continue “as long as the security forces continue to victimise republican areas.”
Earlier this year the group claimed responsibility for its first murder when it admitted killing Derry man Andrew Allen in Lisfannon.
Until now, the group had claimed to be non-political, despite growing claims in republican circles that it had aligned itself with dissident republican groupings.
When it first appeared more than three years ago, RAAD claimed it was not interested in politics, despite its use of the name ‘republican.’
The now-defunct Independent Monitoring Commission, the body set up to monitor paramilitary activity in the North, described RAAD as a vigilante group rather than a dissident republican group in several of its later reports.
However, over the course of the last year many republicans claimed that RAAD had become a dissident organisation, pointing to the group’s use of the term ‘IRA’ to describe the Real IRA in a previous statement.
Saturday’s bomb attack comes after an increase in the number of search operations carried out by the PSNI in nationalist and republican areas of the city, which many believe are directed against RAAD.
A number of searches were carried out in the Creggan and Shantallow areas of the city on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Creggan Sinn Féin councillor and deputy mayor Kevin Campbell condemned the bomb attack and said that the lives of civilians had been put at risk.
RAAD rejected the assertion and claimed the area “was first secured to ensure there were no civilians nearby”.
“This attack was a direct response to increased and ever more brutal attacks on republicans and their families,” the RAAD statement claimed.
Anger at SF
RAAD also launched a stinging attack on Sinn Féin and claimed the party is responsible for the recent PSNI actions in the Creggan area.
“These recent arrests and searches have been instigated by Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin are responsible for the upsurge in trouble in republican areas caused by the response to security force brutality,” RAAD claimed.