DUBLIN – Dissident republicans planted a car bomb in the Northern Ireland city of Londonderry in a bid to kill law enforcement officers, police said Tuesday.
A “command wire initiated improvised explosive device” was discovered in a vehicle in Creggan, a historically nationalist stronghold in the border city, police said.
“We assess that this device was to be used against a police patrol,” said Police Service of Northern Ireland assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton.
“The bomb would have killed or maimed anyone near it when it detonated.”
“It is our assessment that the New IRA is responsible for this bomb.”
The New IRA is a splinter faction of the Provisional IRA, the republican group that laid down its arms under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended The Troubles.
The police search — which began Monday — prompted unrest from crowds estimated at around 60-100, facing off with officers in armored Land Rovers.
Police said they were pelted with missiles including over 40 Molotov cocktails and two young people were injured in the violence.
Journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead in Creggan in April as dissident republicans clashed with police officers.
The New IRA offered its “full and sincere apologies,” saying McKee was unintentionally shot as its forces targeted police.
There is speculation that the prospect of Brexit — which has raised the possibility of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland — is provoking increased violence from dissident republicans.