Police in Derry have confirmed that they carried out a controlled explosion on a car in the city cemetery last night.
Two semi automatic handguns have also been recovered in the grounds of the cemetery. The weapons have been taken away for further examination.
It is not known when the cemetery will reopen to the public.
District Commander Superintendent Mark McEwan said: “As part of a police investigation into violent dissident republican activity a policing operation was undertaken yesterday in the grounds of the City Cemetery. As a result of this operation police have recovered two semi-automatic handguns. These are weapons that are made and possessed with one purpose in mind and that is to kill or cause serious injury to people. Those involved are intent on carrying out attacks on police officers and the local community. I am thankful this morning to be able to confirm we have taken these weapons out of circulation.
“While the removal of these weapons is a success it is very worrying to think that, within the District, this is now three firearms we have taken out of circulation this week. I cannot say if these are linked but violent dissident republican activity is the main focus of our investigations into both seizures.
“I would appeal to anyone within the community who has any information about this activity or those who are involved in it to contact Detectives in Strand Road. I would also like to thank the community, this is a very sensitive area to have to carry out such an operation and shows the total disregard that those involved have for the people of this City. It has caused significant disruption and we will work hard this morning to try and bring the operation to a conclusion.”
Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact Detectives in Strand Road on the non-emergency number 101. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney condemned those behind the alert.
Mr McCartney said; “I condemn the fact City Cemetery has had to be closed as a result of a security alert.
“Many people use the City Cemetery every day visiting the graves of family members and loved ones.
“Not only has this security alert caused disruption to the local area but it will undoubtedly add to the grief and distress of grieving relatives.
“It is disgraceful that anyone would attempt to use the City Cemetery for any purpose that would lead to a security alert.
“The City Cemetery is a shared space and should be respected by everyone in the community.”