Car bomb explodes in Londonderry outside court house as police evacuate area amid concern about second car
- A suspected car bomb has exploded outside court houses in Northern Ireland
- Police have tweeted a picture and warned people to stay away from the area
- The explosion is thought to have taken place at 8.15pm on Bishop Street
A suspected car bomb has exploded outside a court house on a city centre street in Northern Ireland.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland as well as firefighters and the ambulance service sealed off the scene close to a courthouse on Bishop Street in the city.
Police have also indicated on their PSNI Foyle Facebook page that they are concerned about a second car on the street.
Witnesses earlier said they heard a loud bang and saw a large plume of smoke with local residents, including those in a sheltered housing complex for elderly people, being evacuated from the area.
The scene of a suspected car bomb on Bishop Street in Londonderry (pictured). Police have warned people to stay away from the area
The scene of a suspected car bomb on Bishop Street in Londonderry. Police are also concerned about a second car on the street
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There has been no reports of any casualties at this stage.
A photograph was tweeted from a Police Service of Northern Ireland Twitter account warning people to stay away from the area.
A tweet from the PSNI’s Derry City and Strabane District account also warns members of the public that Bishop Street is currently closed, adding the words ‘suspected car bomb’.
Foyle Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion condemned the blast.
She said: ‘This incident has shocked the local community.
‘In particular, there are many elderly residents who live in the area who have been alarmed by this.
‘Thankfully no-one appears to have been injured.
‘Derry is a city moving forward and no-one wants this type of incident. It is not representative of the city.
‘I would encourage anyone with information about this incident to bring it to the police.’
Emergency services at the scene of a suspected car bomb on Bishop Street in Londonderry, thought to be outside court houses
DUP politician Gary Middleton and previous tweeted: ‘PSNI have confirmed there were no injuries in the serious incident at Bishops Street.
‘Vehicle hijacked with explosion outside courthouse. Disgraceful act of terrorism.’
The incident happened just a few miles from the Irish border as the Republic of Ireland prepares to mark the 100th anniversary of its war of independence.
The first shots of the war, which saw the southern 26 counties of Ireland become independent of the United Kingdom in 1921 before going on to become the Republic of Ireland, were fired at Soloheadbeg, Co Tipperary on January 21 1919.
Violent dissident republican groups have been responsible for a number of murders over the last 10 years.
They include the killing of Sappers Mark Quincey and Patrick Azimkar outside Massereene Barracks in Co Antrim in 2009 and PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon, Co Armagh in the same year as well as Constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh in 2011.
Dissidents were also responsible for the murders of prison officers David Black in 2012 and Adrian Ismay in 2016.
There have also been a number of narrow misses, including the maiming of Constable Peadar Heffron in 2010, when an undercar booby trap bomb left him seriously injured.
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