‘Lucky no-one was killed’ - police commander

Derry’s police commander has said that it is lucky no-one was killed or seriously injured by bombs found in an apartment in Maureen Avenue last night.

PSNI Foyle Area Commander Gary Eaton made the comment after the discovery of what he described as a number of “viable devices” during a police operation in the area which began around 7pm.

A 30 year-old man was arrested in connection with dissident republican activities following the discovery of the devices.

The area remained sealed off until this morning while British army bomb disposal experts examined the explosives.

Chief Inspector Eaton said the devices had the capacity to kill and said those responsible for leaving the bombs there displayed a “callous and outrageous disregard for the safety of the community.”

The police commander refused to comment on how many devices were found or what type they were but said they “presented a real and serious risk” to the local community.

“I personally cannot understand what these people were doing. I hope that they know the area and that they can see with their own eyes children going about their daily lives in those areas and make the connection that if something goes wrong those are the people who are going to be put at risk,” he said.

A number of people were evacuated from their homes during the security alert and Chief Inspector Eaton said the disruption could continue until the investigation is complete.

“Clearly the blame for the disruption must lie with those who placed those devices at that location,” he said.

He refused to be drawn on speculation that the apartment was being used as a bomb factory. “I am not going to speculate where they were ultimately intended for but the fact they were in a built up area with children and elderly people is a disgrace and I would ask that anyone who has any information that would assist our enquiries to come forward,” the Derry police commander said.

The PSNI chief also confirmed that a search operation at a house in the Gartan Square area of the Bogside was part of the investigation into the discovery of the devices.