Shots fired in 'murder bid' on police in Derry
Shots fired in Derry overnight have been described as a "blatant bid to murder police officers".
The PSNI said around six shots were fired as they dealt with petrol bombs thrown close to the city walls and at police patrols in a fourth consecutive night of violence. Earlier yesterday a van was hijacked and burnt out in the Bogside area.
Chief Inspector Neil Beck said: "Around sixteen petrol bombs and five paint bombs were thrown from the Bogside area into the Fountain and, in what can only be described as a blatant bid to murder police officers, shots were fired at police close to our city's walls.
"We believe that around six shots were fired striking the walls and nearby trees, however fortunately none of our officers were injured. Police officers should not be targeted under any circumstances and their lives should not be put in danger by simply doing their jobs, attempting to keep people safe.
"I am appealing to those with influence in the area to please assist us in trying to bring this unnecessary and unwanted violence to an end. This isn't wanted by the community and those involved are urged to cease this activity immediately."
A number of people have been charged in connection with disorder over previous nights and two men are due to appear in court this morning.
Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact them on 101.
Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle Karen Mullan said it was a "reckless and highly concerning act".
"The people of this city have already made it clear that they are completely opposed to the violence that has been taking place in the Bogside and Fountain areas this week," she said.
"So for an armed group to seek to exploit and escalate that is disgraceful. Earlier this week, we had dissidents denying involvement in orchestrating the trouble but now we see shots being fired and people are rightly asking who else would be responsible for that?"
"This was a reckless and highly concerning escalation that endangered lives. It should be condemned by all and those responsible should get off the backs of this community."
Ulster Unionist councillor Derek Hussey, who is Deputy Mayor of Derry, also expressed his disgust.
"The attempted murder of police officers in the city of Londonderry overnight is absolutely abhorrent and is to be condemned," he said.
"I am also disgusted that the Fountain estate has had to endure yet another sectarian attack on what is a small Protestant community. There is clearly a very sinister element involved.
"Some have tried to play this down as kids acting up over the summer months. That is clearly not the case. These are well orchestrated, co-ordinated attacks on the PSNI and the Fountain estate.
"I would appeal to those with influence within the republican community to do what they can to halt these attacks and to give the police their full unequivocal support."
Last night's violence comes after Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Ken Good and the Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown, visited the Fountain and the Bogside estates.