Northern Ireland

Doctor targeted by bomb 'lived to serve community'

A retired doctor whose home was targeted in a Real IRA bomb attack near Claudy in County Londonderry has said he and his wife have lived to serve their community.

A controlled explosion was carried out on a bomb found at Dr Keith Munro's home early on Wednesday morning.

A bomb also exploded outside a Catholic police officer's house on the Ervey Road near Claudy. No-one was injured.

Four men and two women have been arrested.

They were al arrested in Derry on Wednesday.

Police have said they have "no doubt" the Real IRA was behind both bomb attacks.

Dr Munro is a retired GP, who works as a forensic medical officer.

He said he had just returned home after midnight when the police control centre rang him to ask if he had noticed anything suspicious. A device was found at about 07:00 BST.

"I am very surprised, very sad and naturally concerned and so is my wife and family because we live to serve the community," he said.

'No viable argument'

He emphasised that forensic medical officers are independent and although they work with the police, they do not work for them.

"There is no viable argument for behaviour like this - for people who are completely independent - we are not police, we are doctors trained in the speciality of forensic medicine."

Dr Munro said he will not give up his work but he will have to review his security.

"The forensic service has been running over 60 years and I have been involved in it for over 40 years and at no time has any medical officer been threatened in their work."

Police said they received a report of two cars on fire in separate areas of Derry at about midnight on Tuesday.

Following this, officers discovered a device in the garden of the doctor's house.

He and his wife were moved and the device, which police said was capable of causing damage, injury or death, was made safe by the Army.

Shortly after 07:00 BST a police officer returned to his home to find the other bomb had exploded at the front door.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin said the attacks were "reckless and desperate" and he was "certain" the Real IRA was behind them.

"Here we have two distinguished people and pillars of society targeted by people who were quite happy to potentially take their lives," he added.

Mr Martin said both men would not be deterred by the attacks and planned to return to work later on Wednesday.

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said those behind the attacks were criminals.

"It would seem likely that dissident republicans have targeted people by these devices which have been placed outside, or at homes," the DUP member said.

"The families of those attacked have been terrorised and placed under threat by criminals who want to drag Northern Ireland backwards.

"It is also vital that other people living in surrounding areas are vigilant in case there are other devices present."

'Utterly deplorable'

SDLP councillor Thomas Conway said the incidents were "very alarming".

"I have to say, on behalf of the community, that this is utterly deplorable," he said.

Northern Ireland Policing Board chair, Brian Rea also condemned the attacks.

"These separate attacks on two police employees are totally unjustified and it is fortunate that no-one was killed or seriously injured," he said.

"The people who carried out these mindless acts of violence have nothing positive to contribute to our society and will not succeed in destroying the huge progress that has been made in policing across communities."

Retired Bishop Edward Daly expressed his "horror and indignation" at the attacks.

He said Dr Munro was "a good, good person who has done so much work for the hospice".

"It's disgraceful that a main-stay, and one of the founders of the hospice, had a device placed at his home."

The police have urged people living in Claudy, Eglinton and the Waterside area of Derry to be extremely vigilant.

"Should you observe any unusual or suspicious activity or come across anything that looks out of place or suspicious, do not touch or approach it but contact police immediately," a police spokesperson said.

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