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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 April 2006, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
Dissidents link to city van bomb
Army bomb disposal officers made the device safe
Police suspect dissident republicans were behind an attempted bomb attack on a PSNI station in Londonderry.

The blast incendiary device was placed in a van which was hijacked by three armed men at Altcar Park, Galliagh after midnight on Thursday.

They told the driver to take it to Strand Road police station. He abandoned it at Northland Road.

Nine homes were evacuated during the subsequent alert. The army made the device safe on Thursday morning.

PSNI Chief Inspector Ken Finney said those behind the attack showed "remarkable contempt" for the people of the city.

He said that had the device exploded, it would have caused untold damage and could easily have lead to loss of life.

The chief inspector said the timer had reached the point of detonation either when it was being driven towards the police station or after the driver abandoned the van, but the device failed to explode.

The driver had a lucky escape, he said, and had been left traumatised.

Mr Finney said when the driver was ordered to drive to the police station he was able to see a wheelie bin taped into the back of his van, along with gas cannisters.


He smelled petrol and could hear liquid "sloshing around" inside the bin.

The blame for any inconvenience to local people rested firmly with those who planned and carried out the attack, Mr Finney added.

He said dissident republicans were the main suspects for the attempted attack.

"At this stage no-one has claimed responsibility for it, but it does have similar hallmarks to previous devices left around the country and in this area that were claimed by republican dissidents," Mr Finney said.

The SDLP's Pat Ramsey condemned the attack and said it was a worrying attempt to hamper political progress.

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