Over 40 petrol bombs were thrown at police during an operation to disable a 'New IRA' command wire initiated bomb in a parked car in Creggan last night.
The PSNI believe the bomb was intended to target a police patrol but would have killed or injured anyone in the vicinity had it detonated.
Assistant Chief Constable for District Policing Mark Hamilton said: "Following a large scale search operation in the Creggan area of Derry/Londonderry, police located a suspect device in a parked vehicle.
"A clearance operation was commenced with a number of families being asked to leave their homes for their own safety.
"During the operation a crowd of 60-100 persons gathered, some of whom attacked police vehicles with missiles and over 40 petrol bombs."
Despite the sustained assault no police officers were injured but a number of young people managed to hurt themselves while mishandling petrol bombs.
"Police believe at least two young people sustained burn injuries when they tried to use petrol bombs to attack the police cordon. No police officers were injured," said ACC Hamilton.
The senior police officer said the 'New IRA' had shown no concern for the safety of people living in Creggan by attempting to deploy a bomb in the middle of a residential area.
"After a lengthy operation, the Army Bomb Disposal Team made safe a Command Wire Initiated Improvised Explosive Device.
"We assess that this device was to be used against a police patrol in the Creggan area of the city. It is our assessment that the New IRA is responsible for this bomb. The bomb would have killed or maimed anyone near it when it detonated.
“Whilst it is the clear intention of the New IRA to murder community police officers trying to keep the community in Derry/Londonderry safe, it is also very clear that NIRA have a total disregard for the lives of everyone living in Creggan.
“By bringing a viable bomb into the community they have again proved that have no regard for the lives of anyone living in Creggan. Once again they exploited some of the young people in the community to attack police and have brought disruption and misery to families.
"We want to thank the community for their patience during this public safety operation. We know the impact this has had, especially on residents who had to leave their homes."
The operation in Creggan continues.
"Police will remain at the scene for some time yet to carry out further investigations. A full terrorist investigation has been commenced and we would ask anyone with any information about this bomb or the disorder that occurred to contact police in Strand Road."