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Device driven to police station in hijacked car was a 'viable bomb'

The PSNI had thought the object was an elaborate hoax made to look like a car bomb.

The device thought to be a hoax which was driven to a PSNI police station in Londonderry was actually a "viable bomb", it has been confirmed.

The PSNI initially believed the vehicle, driven by a delivery driver who was hijacked by masked men at gunpoint on Sunday night, contained an elaborate hoax device made to look like a car bomb.

However, it has since been confirmed that the device driven to Waterside police station was a viable explosive. The hijacking sparked a security operation which caused chaos in the city.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton said: “Following further technical examination of the object recovered from a hijacked vehicle outside Waterside police station on Sunday evening, police can now confirm it was a viable explosive device.

“This further underlines the reckless and callous disregard by those responsible for the safety of the driver, the local community and the police officers who serve them."

The PSNI said an obvious line of inquiry was that dissident republicans were behind the incident, which happened just days after the force said they believed the New IRA could be behind a separate bomb attack in Strabane where the car of two officers was targeted. 

On Tuesday evening, detectives from the PSNI Terrorism Investigation Unit carried out a search at a property in the Sion Mills area in relation to the Strabane attack. A number of items were seized and taken away for further forensic examination.

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill branded the recent incidents “futile and reckless” during a visit to the city on Tuesday.

She said: “It causes nothing – only chaos and dysfunction to people of this city and also in Strabane.

“I think these actions have no place in today’s society and as political leaders we must call it out when we see it. This could have had catastrophic implications. We could have had the loss of life of two police officers."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said those behind the attack are "acting against the will and the wishes of our community".

He said: “They are targeting PSNI officers but their fight is with the people of our city who have chosen to live in peace. They will never win that fight.

“Nobody in Derry or anywhere on this island wants to see violence or bloodshed and we need to see these people taken off the streets."

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