Northern Ireland news

'IRA' claims responsibility for Derry attacks

Shots were fired at PSNI officers on Derry's walls. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Connla Young

THE republican group known as the ‘IRA’ has claimed responsibility for recent gun and bomb attacks on police in Derry.

In a statement, it said it fired 10 shots and threw two “grenades” at officers during trouble in the city last week.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton last week identified the group - sometimes referred to as the New IRA - as being responsible for the attacks.

Sources say an AK47 assault rifle was used to fire the shots last Tuesday during rioting in the Bogside area.

It is understood police officers who were standing on Derry’s walls were the targets.

Police later said that some of the rounds struck the city’s historic walls and nearby trees.

 Youths throwing petrol bombs in Derry's Bogside last week. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

The group also said it was responsible for attacking police with two “grenades”, which sources say were home-made, last Thursday night.

At the time police said that two ‘improvised explosive devices’ and 75 petrol bombs had been thrown at officers during a sixth successive night of trouble.

It has been suggested the bombs included a quantity of commercial explosives.

No-one was injured during either attack.

In the statement, which was signed 'T O’Neill', the group said: “The Irish Republican Army claim responsibility for the rifle and grenade attacks carried out by our active service units in Derry against the crown forces.

“The greatest resource in our arsenal - apart from the support of the people - is the element of surprise.”

Children as young as eight were involved in violence in the Bogside last week. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

The statement did not claim responsibility for two devices thrown onto Derry’s walls in the early hours of last Thursday.

Last week’s trouble in Derry was condemned by politicians and religious leaders, with a large crowd attending a rally on Friday calling for an end to the violence.

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan last night again condemned the attacks and said the 'IRA' does not have the support of people in Derry.

“These actions last week were highly irresponsible, highly dangerous and highly unwelcome,” he said.

“People have no desire to see a return to the days of guns and bombs on our streets so this organisation should do everyone a favour and go away."

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