Grenade thrown at boys and police in Derry

Wed, May 11, 2011, 01:00

FOUR POLICE officers and two primary school children escaped injury in Derry on Monday evening when a hand grenade thrown at them failed to explode.

The attack occurred at Southway in the city’s Creggan Estate as local residents returned to their homes following an earlier alert. The four police officers were on cordon duty during the earlier alert and were speaking to two young boys on bicycles when a man threw the device at them.

“It landed at the feet of one of the officers who was right beside the two boys. Fortunately it failed to explode. But the person who threw the hand grenade had full view of not only my officers but also of the two young boys they were talking to,” said Chief Supt. Stephen Martin.

“We were very very lucky last night. If that hand grenade had exploded, we would have been dealing with at best injuries or at worst with the deaths of children or police officers”, he said.

Iris Donnelly, whose son Aodan (8) was one of the schoolboys caught up in the incident, condemned the attacker.

“The police officer shouted at Aodan and his friend ‘grenade run’. Aodan grabbed his friend and pulled him away.

“When I was told what had happened I couldn’t believe it. Whoever threw that device saw that Aodan and his friend were standing right beside the policeman they were aiming at. I had a difficult night with Aodan but I decided to send him to school today to keep things as normal as possible for him.

“I didn’t push him to tell me anything, I just let him talk about it on his terms but I can say he was a very frightened little boy. Who in their right mind would throw a hand grenade at a policeman talking to two wee boys?”