Explosion on Derry shopping street

Sat, May 21, 2011, 01:00

A bomb exploded today at a busy shopping area in Northern Ireland in the latest in a series of attacks by dissident republicans opposed to the peace process.

The blast damaged a branch of the Santander bank in Derry’s Shipquay Street, but the area had been evacuated following a warning and there were no injuries.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman said: “There has been an explosion in Shipquay Street in Derry. The area was evacuated at the time and there are no reports of any injuries.

“The security operation is continuing.” The explosion came the day after Queen Elizabeth II finished a four-day State visit to Ireland which was heavily policed amid tight security.

Local sources, the device was carried in a bag into the building by two masked men then left on the floor with customers present, before the culprits made their escape.

DUP First Minister Peter Robinson said: “This bomb was deliberately placed in one of the busiest areas of the city and was designed to murder innocent people as they shopped on a Saturday afternoon.

“The perpetrators of this disgusting attack have no regard for human life. Indeed if it were not for the vigilance of the security forces we could have been faced with a far greater tragedy this afternoon.

“The people of Londonderry and of Northern Ireland have made it clear in our recent elections that they have no wish to return to the dark days of the past.

“There is no support for those who wish to destroy and divide us with this type of evil and callous attack. They will not succeed.”

Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said those who carried out the attack had no mandate.

“Those who carried it out need to realise that such an attack only hardens our resolve to ensure that peace survives and continues to flourish,” he added.

“The people of Derry have worked hard to build a city that is peaceful and inclusive. Their hard work will not be undone by today’s mindless act.”

PA