Bomb as powerful as ‘military hand grenade’

Superintendant Chris Yates at the press conference at Strand road PSNI station.  (1704JB20)
Superintendant Chris Yates at the press conference at Strand road PSNI station. (1704JB20)

The device thrown close to the family home of a serving PSNI office in Shantallow on Sunday night was “the equivalent of a military hand grenade,” a senior police officer said.

The bomb was discovered under a car in the Drumleck Drive area shortly before 11pm on Sunday, close to the home of the parents of a police officer, both of whom are pensioners.

The car the bomb was discovered under belongs to a local nurse.

PSNI superintendent Chris Yates said the device, which he described as a “sizeable pipe bomb” had been lit but failed to explode. “This is a cowardly attack and was reckless in the extreme. This is a residential area and the device is the equivalent of a military hand grenade.

“No one wants this. We could have had a child dead, we could have had a pensioner dead,” he said.

The senior police officer also said that it is not the first time the family have been targeted and blamed dissident republicans for the attacks. “We are linking this attack to a previous attack on the same family, there is a line of inquiry there and investigations have started. We are treating this as a terrorist incident. We are treating it as attempted murder,” he said.

He also paid tribute to the police officer and his family and said that both have said they have said they will not be intimidated by the attacks.

Supt. Yates said police are interested in the movements of two men seen in the area before the attack. “We believe there were two males in the area probably about an hour before hand. We are interested to hear form anyone who saw anything suspicious in Drumleck Drive from about 9pm,” he said.

The police chief also said his officer “would leave no stone unturned” in their efforts to bring those responsible to justice.

The bomb attack was condemned by local politicians. Foyle MP Mark Durkan said; “It was carried out with malice and all the worst possible fallout with calculation and forethought from those involved.”

Sinn Féin councillor Tony Hassan said; “I call on those responsible to explain to our community just exactly what they hope to achieve by these futile actions. Your total and callous disregard for the community you are a part of defies logic.”

Monsignor Eamon Martin, Diocesan Administrator said; “The bomb placed outside the home of relatives of a PSNI officer demonstrates a reckless disregard for the sanctity of human life. The bomb endangered the lives of people living in the house and many in the surrounding area.

“I reiterate the right of men and women to choose to build up our community through serving as police officers. Those who are engaged in serving and protecting the public are themselves deserving of the support of the community,” he said.