A NEW IRA bomb discovered in a parked vehicle in Londonderry yesterday was to be used to attack a polce patrol, detectives have said.
The device was operated using a command wire and was being stored for use somewhere else in the area.
Cops said it was an improvised explosive belonging to the dissident republican New IRA grouping.
Assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton said: “The bomb would have killed or maimed anyone near it when it detonated.”
Police were attacked with missiles by members of a crowd of 60-100 people as they carried out searches targeting dissidents.
Around 40 petrol bombs were thrown during Monday evening’s disorder.
At least two of the young people suffered burn injuries when they tried to attack the police cordon with petrol bombs.
Officers found the viable explosive device while looking for New IRA bomb-making equipment in the Creggan Heights area of the city.
Mr Hamilton said: “By bringing a viable bomb into the community they have again proved that have no regard for the lives of anyone living in Creggan.
“Once again they exploited some of the young people in the community to attack police and have brought disruption and misery to families.”
He added: “There seems to be more of a concerted effort by dissident republicans.”
Fifteen families had to leave their homes after the discovery of the device, but they have since returned home after it was made safe.
Sinn Féin’s Karen Mullan said people living in Creggan were “angry and disgusted” and those responsible were not “listening to the community”.
She said: “There is no justification whatsoever for rioting or attacking the police when they are in to do their job.”
DUP leader Arlene Foster tweeted: “I commend the police officers for making this area safe.
“Those who cling to the bomb & bullet try to use their community as a shield. For the sake of the next generation, these people need to be removed from our streets.”
The police searches were launched after a dissident republican mortar bomb was recovered in Strabane, Co Tyrone, on Saturday.
The mortar, which was positioned close to a family home, was aimed at the town’s police station.
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It was the seventh attempted murder bid against the security forces in Northern Ireland this year.
Journalist Lyra McKee, 29, was murdered by the New IRA in the same Creggan Heights area in April while standing near a police 4×4.
The New IRA later said its members had murdered the 29-year-old, who was shot in the head when a masked gunman fired towards police and onlookers.