Page last updated at 17:52 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010

Real IRA say they caused Londonderry security alerts

A number of controlled explosions have been carried out

Security alerts have in Londonderry have been cleared after the Real IRA said they left four devices in the city.

A hijacked van had been left outside Strand Road Police Station and the roads between Lawrence Hill and Asylum Road were cordoned off.

An area around Bishop Street Courthouse was also closed after another hijacked vehicle was abandoned at Bishop's Gate.

At least three controlled explosions were carried out.

People were evacuated from both areas.

Madam's Bank Road was closed for a time, but has now reopened. The Craigavon Bridge has also been reopened.

The police said they searched the areas, but nothing untoward was found.

The Very Reverend Dean of Derry, Dr William Morton, was one of those evacuated from Bishop Street.

"The police arrived and told us we had to get out straight away, and my wife and I and our three sons had to bail out very quickly," he said.

"It was obviously designed to cause maximum disruption, and I really feel sorry for traders whose businesses are so dreadfully affected and also to families, like ours, with children."

Police inspector Jon Burrows condemned those responsible.

"The victims today I don't believe were the police service or the court service.

The victims were the young students who couldn't go to college today because the college had to close
PSNI Inspector Jon Burrows

"The victims were the people of the city, the victims were the young students who couldn't go to college today because the college had to close.

"The victims were the traders of this city who've lost trade because of the disruption caused by these incidents.

"The community are the victims and the community need to unite with the police and condemn this activity and start giving us the information we need to put the people who carry out these activities behind bars where they belong," he said.


Craigavon Bridge has also been closed due to an alert
Craigavon Bridge was also closed due to an alert

The Northwest Regional College said their Northland Road and Strand Road sites was closed on Friday due to the alerts, and students were advised not to arrive for class.

Quayside Medical Practice was also closed, and doctors dealt with emergency cases only.

Meanwhile there is a security alert on the railway line at Newry.

Trains are operating as far as Newry but a bus substitution is in place from Newry to Dundalk

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