Police say the suspicious object that sparked a security alert at Derry’s Strand Road PSNI station was a viable mortar.
Around 1000 local residents were evacuated from their homes overnight.
Superintendent Stephen Cargin said there had been a complete disregard for innocent lives by those individuals who left the device in the popular residential area.
“Close to 1,000 people had to leave their homes last night because of the misguided actions of the people responsible for this incident. It is only by good fortune that we are not talking about loss of life or serious damage to property. While the device will be forensically examined in due course it is safe to say that the intent here was to kill or injure and create fear within the community.”
Derry’s Mayor Martin Reilly said the mortar had the potential to kill innocent people.
“The small minority of people who continue with acts of violence and destruction do not speak for the vast majority of people in Derry who are committed to peace and to working for a positive future for this city. This latest attack, which put over a thousand people out of their homes in the middle of the night, had the potential to kill or injure. Such acts will not be tolerated as we work for a new future for the city and region. These acts of violence continue to frustrate those of us committed to work for peace and reconciliation but it will not stop us from continuing with that good work,” he said.
Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Maeve McLaughlin said:” “People in the city will welcome the fact that this device has been discovered.
“Whatever group was behind this incident they need to reflect on the political realities of Ireland in 2013.The people of Derry do not want this happening in their name. We have to ensure that the peace and political processes continue to strengthen in spite of the wreckers.”
The police cordons have been reduced in the area and the only road currently affected is Lawrence Hill. All other residents have been allowed to return to their homes.
Anyone with information about the device is asked to contact police on 0845 600 8000. Alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.