Two arrested after auto bomb attack in Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Two men in their twenties have been arrested in connection with a vehicle bomb which exploded outside a Northern Ireland courthouse last night. Two additional men, ages 34 and 42, were arrested later in the day, according to a tweet from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Police said a warning call was made to a charity in England and passed on to them.

At the courthouse, jury trials due to be held have been put off until Tuesday.

They said the attack may have been carried out by dissident republican group the New IRA.

The dissident republican group the New IRA is suspected of being behind the attack which happened shortly after 8pm on Saturday when a vehicle exploded on Bishop Street in Londonderry.

The van was hijacked by three masked men this morning before it was abandoned.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said the attack has been linked to the New IRA militant group.

"We have been in touch with numerous businesses impacted by the situation in Bishop Street and the surrounding area and they have bounced back straightaway, opening for business with normal trading hours and welcoming visitors and tourists back to the city".

"Around five minutes later, information was received that a device had been left at the courthouse".

He said the bomb "will not deter us from opening today and getting on with the job". It said the device was highly unstable and could have detonated at any time.

The police have released CCTV footage of the moment the bomb exploded. Picture Margaret McLaughlin 19-1-2019.

"We are in the process of implementing a public safety operation, establishing cordons and evacuating a number of homes".

Gina McFeely said she was in her flat, getting ready to go to her nephew's 21st birthday party, when she heard a loud bang. "We were just told to stay where we were; the police were trying to find out what was going on".

A suspected auto bomb has exploded outside court houses in Derry, Northern Ireland.

Secretary of State Karen Bradley says those responsible would not be permitted to disrupt progress in Northern Ireland.

"It's an organization that has evolved over recent years", the PSNI's Hamilton said.

The Northern Ireland police force said it was given only minutes to evacuate children and hundreds of hotel guests before the explosion.

Even the name of the city has been disputed, with nationalists, who are in favor of a united Ireland, calling it Derry and unionists, who want to remain part of the United Kingdom, calling it Londonderry.

Sky News' senior Ireland correspondent David Blevins said the sound "would have been hauntingly familiar to people in the city", which is just two miles from the border with Ireland.

There were no details from police on who may have been behind the hijackings in Londonderry, also known as Derry, particularly among Catholics to show their resistance to British rule.

  • Rogelio Becker