Attack 'warrants action'
DUP MP Gregory Campbell has called for a move beyond the politics of condemnation and for lengthy jail terms for those who carried out a car bomb attack close to Strand Road PSNI station in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Speaking in the wake of the explosion Mr Campbell said: "As a result of these attacks it is now time to move beyond condemnation. It is long past the time where calling these people 'traitors' is perceived to be enough. What we need now is solid information coming from the community resulting in long prison services.
"There is obviously a pattern to this now. There has been a series of attacks over recent months which has intensified in recent weeks."
Whilst some commentators have suggested that dissident republicans in Londonderry have lashed out after the recent award of the UK City of Culture title, Mr Campbell said that the attack was more likely the result of an escalation in their activity.
"It is more a case of dissidents having recruited a number of people and carrying out these attacks like the ones at Newry, Craigavon and Forkhill."
The explosion happened approximately a few yards from the gate of the city's main police station at approximately 3.20am. A taxi driver was forced to ferry the device to the intended target after being hi jacked in the Bogside by two men, one of whom was armed.
It is estimated that the bomb detonated within 23 minutes of being placed at the scene leaving police scant time to evacuate nearby dwellings, including a nursing home at Asylum Road. The decimated shell of the vehicle remained in the area for many hours yesterday as forensics experts examined it and the surrounding area.
The fact that no one was injured in the explosion appears to have been a matter of good fortune. Damage was caused to the perimeter wall of the station and structural engineers were being brought in to assess the extent of the damage.
Traffic movement within the city was seriously disrupted yesterday. Businesses and vital services, including Bayview Medical Practice remained closed all day.
Chairman of the District Policing Partnership, Joe Miller branded the actions of the bombers 'cowardly', adding: "These people have no support even in their own community. How much support does it take to put a gun to a taxi driver's head and make him deliver a bomb to a police station? Wherever they feel their strongholds are, I would urge parents to take care that their children are not used by these people, who have shown in West Belfast recently, and in Londonderry last month, that they are happy to put children and young people in the front line. Surely mothers in areas that dissidents see as their strongholds don't want to see their children used and possible seriously hurt?
"The only way to prevent this is to give information that helps the police to stop them. This terrorist attack on Strand Road Police Station was an attempt to murder police officers and members of the public. The bomb attack was carried out by people who have absolutely no regard for human life and are only interested in causing maximum disruption and devastation to people living, working or visiting our city.
"Police officers, business owners and civilians were lucky to escape serious injury or death from this attack. Luckily the police were able to clear the area in time to ensure that there was no loss of life. However, I have no doubt that all the people of our city will utterly condemn this murderous attack."
Speaker of the Assembly, William Hay told the Sentinel: "These may be a small band of people, but they are very ruthless.
"They do not have any policies or strategy. It was only a matter of weeks ago that they attempted to bomb Strand Road station, but the bomb didn't go off.
"Dissident republicans obviously regarded this as a challenge. They have caused damage to properties and businesses, but more importantly they forced a taxi driver to do this and gave him 15 minutes to park the car and get away.
"There are people within the community who are hiding these people and who know who they are. It has to be understood that it could be your father, brother, mother or sister caught up in these attacks, so the entire community has a responsibility to bring these people to justice.
"Also, the PSNI must be given the resources to deal with this properly because the situation now is more serious than it has been for many years."
Ulster Unionist Alderman Mary Hamilton also totally condemned the attack and said that she was awoken by the explosion whilst she slept at her Waterside home.
"We are supposed to be becoming a city of culture, trying to progress, but acts like these are setting us back years, including last weeks attack on the statue of Governor Walker. It will be the ratepayers of the city as usual who will have to pick up the bill," she said.
Foyle MP Mark Durkan said: "This was a cowardly, dangerous and vulgar act.
"It is extremely fortunate that no injury has been caused or life lost as a result of this attack."
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Weather for Londonderry
Wednesday 19 June 2013
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