THE “suspicious object” thrown at police last night was a lethal pipe bomb which had the capability of killing, the PSNI have said.
A number of homes in the area were evacuated after the device failed to explode when it was hurled at a police vehicle with two officers inside close to Long Tower church in Derry.
Anne Street Community Centre was opened for those who had to move out of their homes in Charlotte Street where the incident occurred shortly before 11.00pm.
A number of residents were allowed to remain in their homes but advised to stay to the rear of their properties.
Charlotte Street, Barrack Street and the Lecky flyover were closed following the incident which occurred shortly before 11.00pm.
The army bomb disposal team visited the scene and the PSNI has confirmed the object was a “crude” pipe which could have killed or caused serious injury.
Derry police boss Chief Inspector Jon Burrows said he had not doubt dissidents were behind the reckless attack.
“This device had the potential to kill. Is that what these people want? To bring murder onto the streets.”
Fr Eddie Gallagher, administrator of St Columba’s Church which is situated on Charolette Street, said residents were “shocked” by what had happened.
He said young children had to be carried from their homes in their pyjamas.
Fr Gallagher said: “A number of people have lived here for over 40 years and this is the first time anything like this has happened to them, even at the height of the Troubles.”
He added: “Thankfully, no was hurt or injured, police officers or local people. The community rejects this and they are not in favour of anything like this, they just want to move on. We wish that message would get through to people who are still involved in activities such as this.”
SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey condemned those responsible had shown a reckless disregard for human life, claiming they could have caused “serious harm or worse”
He added: ““This object could have caused serious injury or worse if it wasn’t for the swift action of the police to make the area safe.
“Residents living in the Charlotte Street area faced major disruption and a number of families were evacuated from their homes. This must have been an extremely frightening experience for those affected.
“The people behind this incident do not speak for the people of Derry. They are only intent on causing hurt, chaos and fear. I would urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI at Strand Road.”