Northern Ireland: Suspected auto bomb explodes in Londonderry

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"I utterly condemn the vehicle bomb terrorist attack in Derry this evening", he said.

The DUP MLA, Gary Middleton, has described the incident as a "disgraceful act of terrorism".

He said the focus now was on completing the investigations and getting the city back to normal.

Between that time and 7.23pm, a bomb was placed in the vehicle and it was transported to around half a mile outside the courthouse on Bishop Street.

Police said that their main line of inquiry was that the New IRA group was responsible for the attack.

Police said they received an approximate 10-minute warning before the bomb exploded outside a courthouse on Bishop Street at 8.10pm, giving limited time to evacuate hundreds of people from a nearby hotel, masonic hall, youth club and other sites.

"This attack was unbelievably reckless", Mr Hamilton said.

Police evacuated nearby buildings.

'Thankfully no-one appears to have been injured.

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But it has been more than a decade since a police or military installation in the capital has suffered a major bombing. The driver ignored the checkpoint and crashed the auto into a wall, where it exploded, El Tiempo reported.

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"This incident has shocked the local community", she said. "They care little about the damage to the area and the disruption they have caused", he added. "The area remains sealed off and church services at St Augustine's has been moved to St Peters and the Cathedral services have been cancelled this morning as a result", he said.

No one claimed responsibility but suspicion fell on dissident Irish republicans opposed to the peace process.

Irish Republican Army dissidents are suspected of being behind a vehicle bombing outside a courthouse in the Northern Ireland city of Londonderry late Saturday in an attack authorities called "incredibly reckless".

The mayor of Derry John Boyle challenged those responsible to explain themselves.

'I would actually like to ask the people responsible for this what it actually was that they thought they were going to achieve.

"Dissident Republican groups have been active in terms of paramilitary shootings and low-scale terror attacks in recent years", he said.

Local residents, including elderly people in sheltered accommodation and hundreds of hotel guests, were evacuated amid concerns over a second auto on the street, as officers widened their cordon. "I knew right away this was a bomb", he said. This is intolerable violence and we want to look forward and build a peaceful future for all in Northern Ireland.

"Derry-Londonderry is a great city and is an integral part of our tourism and hospitality offer at home and internationally and we must support it in every way we can".

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