'IRA' says it planted bomb under PSNI officer's car in Derry

The scene of the bomb attack on a police officer in the Culmore area of Derry. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Connla Young

THE republican group known as the ‘IRA’ has claimed responsibility for a bomb planted under a PSNI officer’s car in Derry last week.

The organisation claimed the booby-trap device featured a plastic explosive it had not used before and was of a "new design".

Sources last night said the explosives have been newly acquired.

The ‘IRA’ , which is also referred to as the ‘New IRA’, claimed the police officer, who it named, worked at PSNI headquarters at Knock in east Belfast.

It is believed the bomb fell from a car outside his home in the Ardanlee area of Culmore on Wednesday morning.

Described by police as an “under vehicle improvised explosive device", it exploded as it was being examined by the British army bomb squad.

Using a recognised codeword, the ‘IRA’ said it used a "new type of tilt switch, detonator and plastic explosives".

Republican paramilitary groups have typically favoured powerful Semtex explosives in the past.

The 'IRA' also claimed that the bomb was fitted with “a secondary anti-handling device”, which may explain why it exploded while being examined.

The group said it will “continue to attack members of the British armed forces at a time of our choosing”.

The latest attack on police comes after two officers escaped death in north Belfast when the 'IRA' opened fire with an automatic weapon last month.

One of the officers was injured as he and a colleague were ambushed as they walked from a shop at a busy filling station on the Crumlin Road.

The group has also used under-car bombs in the recent past.

In March last year prison officer Adrian Ismay died 11 days after a bomb exploded under his van as he drove through east Belfast.

In June 2015 a similar device was found under a car outside the home of a couple, who were both PSNI officers, at Eglington near Derry.

In October that year a device was also placed under a VW Transporter used by a British soldier in north Belfast but fell off.

The ‘IRA’ claimed it had fallen from the vehicle three times, giving rise to speculation that security forces had developed technology to counter the attachment of under-car bombs.

Sources suggested the device planted last week would be more difficult to detect than other bombs of the type.

Derry SDLP councillor Tina Gardiner last night condemned the attack.

“The SDLP would condemn backward steps to violence in the community,” she said.

“This was a residential area with young children and it’s not called for and not needed.”

Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion has also called for such attacks to stop.

“Those responsible for this attack have nothing to offer the people of Derry or the north,” she said.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access