Ballyarnett bomb “was attempt to lure and kill police” (Derry Journal)

A “complex and sophisticated” bomb left in a quiet residential area of Derry was designed to lure and kill police officers, the detective leading the investigation said today.

Detective Chief Inspector Una Jennings said the “terrorists” behind the attack had shown “absolute contempt” not only for the lives of police officers in Derry but for the wider community.

Speaking at a press conference at Strand Road on Tuesday afternoon, hours after residents from the area were allowed to return to their homes, Chf. Insp. Jennings said:

“What I would say is that ultimately this device was left in a very quiet residential area of the city and ultimately anybody who would have come into contact with the device from the period of time it was secreted by the terrorists involved in this could potentially have been killed.

“Children could have come into contact with it. Indeed any member of the public who was in that general area could have come in to contact with that device.”

Speaking about the bombers, she said: “They have absolute contempt for the community here in Foyle. They have absolute contempt for the police officers here in Foyle whose lives they placed in danger on Sunday night in through Monday morning. And I would ask the local community to come forward and support the police service to bring these individuals to justice.”

Elaborating on the events leading up to the bomb discovery, she said: “Shortly before midnight on Sunday 12th October police received a report of a burglary in progress at a house of Ballyarnett Village. We were unable to authenticate this call and we went and checked with neighbours in the area who reported that contrary to the caller’s assertions that there was a burglary in progress that actually there was no activity at that particular address.

“Subsequent to this there were a number of calls placed to local organisations and community representatives in Derry claiming that there had been a bomb left at the address in Ballyarnett Village.

“This sequence of events caused police to consider that this device had been left as a lure to draw officers into the area in an attempt to deliberately murder them.

“My response to that is one of shock and horror. I believe that these individuals are ruthless, they are absolutely determined to kill and maim people specifically police officers if they are given the opportunity to do so in the city.”

Calling on local people to help bring those behind the bomb to justice, Chf. Insp. Jennings said: “I would ask is that the local community here in the north west come forward to police and give us any information they have in relation this.

“We are ready to listen we understand how difficult it is to come forward. We are asking you to be courageous. We all collectively have a legal and moral obligation to try and bring these ruthless individuals to justice.”

She confirmed that the major line of inquiry was focusing on dissident republicans as the likely culprits.

Up to 30 homes were evacuated overnight on Monday after the discovery of the device.


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