Police attacked during searches for dissident republicans in Londonderry

Police were attacked with petrol bombs and missiles as they carried out searches targeting dissident republicans in Londonderry.

Officers were targeted after finding what they described as a suspicious object while carrying out searches for New IRA bomb-making equipment.

Young people engaged in the disorder in Derry’s Creggan estate sustained burn injuries during the violence on Monday night, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.

The police searches were launched after a dissident republican mortar bomb was recovered in Strabane, Co Tyrone on Saturday.

Suspicious device found in Creggan
Police were attacked while searching for a device (Aoife Moore/PA)

The mortar, which was positioned close to a family home, was aimed at the town’s police station.

It was the seventh attempted murder bid against the security forces in Northern Ireland this year.

Around 15 of homes were evacuated in Creggan Heights on Monday as officers hunting for New IRA weapons identified the suspicious object.

Journalist Lyra McKee, 29, was murdered by the New IRA in the same area in April as she observed dissident rioting.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton described the operation around the suspicious object as “complex” as he condemned those indulging in disorder.

“This is a complex operation which is expected to continue throughout the night and we have advised those residents who have left their homes to make alternative arrangements,” he said late on Monday night.

“We recognise the upheaval this has caused and we are grateful for their co-operation and understanding.

“The focus of this operation is ensuring the people of Creggan are safe however it is concerning to see significant numbers of young people on the streets, late into the night, throwing petrol bombs and other missiles at officers in the area.

Statement from ACC Mark Hamilton reference Creggan operation pic.twitter.com/oALDdfOIhY

— PSNI DC&S District (@PSNIDCSDistrict) September 9, 2019

“The reality is this type of disorder contributes to the complexity of the policing operation and presents a real risk of injury to those involved.

“Already we have seen two incidents this evening where young people have sustained burn injuries as result of engaging in disorder.

“I would reiterate our appeal for those young people to return home and remove themselves from the situation.

“We are grateful for the support of community representatives in helping to reduce tensions and providing space for officers to carry out the necessary work to ensure this object does not present a risk to the people of Creggan.”

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