Police link N Ireland car bomb to ‘New IRA’

DERRY, United Kingdom (AFP) – Four men were arrested last Sunday following a suspected car bombing in the Northern Irish city of Londonderry, police said who believe a dissident republican group the New IRA to be responsible.

Two suspects in their 20s were arrested last Sunday morning and then two other men. aged 34 and 42, were taken into custody in the evening, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.

The suspected bomb exploded at 8.10pm (2010 GMT) last Saturday, as police were evacuating the area following a warning that a device had been planted outside the city courthouse. There were no casualties.

“Our main line of inquiry is against the New IRA,” said Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton.

“The New IRA, like most dissident republican groups in Northern Ireland, is small, largely unrepresentative, and determined to drag people back to somewhere they don’t want to be.

Four men have been arrested as police and army explosives teams remained at the scene of the blast. – AFP

“The people responsible for this attack have shown no regard for the community or local businesses. They care little about the damage to the area and the disruption they have caused.”

Police said they believe the vehicle used in the attack was hijacked locally from a delivery driver earlier last Saturday.

The warning call was made to a charity hotline in England, before being communicated to local law enforcement in the British province, police said.

Londonderry was a consistent flashpoint in the three decades of sectarian bloodshed in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.

Campaigns of assassination and car bombing between republicans and unionists were largely brought to an end by the 1998 Good Friday peace accords.

As part of the agreement, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) paramilitary group decommissioned its last remaining weapons in 2005 and committed itself to pursuing its aim of a united Ireland through purely political means.