Londonderry pipe bomb attack 'may have been sectarian'

Scene of the security alert
Image caption A number of people were moved from their homes overnight

Police are investigating a possible sectarian motive for an overnight attack in Londonderry's Waterside area.

A brick was hurled through the window of the house, followed by a petrol bomb and a pipe bomb, which did not explode.

Supt Gordon McCalmont said it was a "reckless act at the hands of what we believe to be a loyalist paramilitary gang".

A meeting to discuss ongoing tensions in the area was held on Tuesday.

On Saturday night, shots were fired at a house at nearby Rossdowney Drive where a toddler was asleep in a upstairs bedroom.

'We bleed the same colour'

The latest attack happened at about 10:30 BST on Monday, and the victim said he did not know why his house was targeted.

"I don't know why anyone has anything against me because I don't really know anybody," said Andrew Logue.

Image caption The incident was reported to police at about 10:30 BST on Monday

The 62-year-old, who is originally from Carndonagh in County Donegal and has been living in the mainly unionist estate for three months, said he was still in shock.

"I couldn't believe someone would do that to the likes of myself," he told BBC News NI.

"It doesn't bother me what religion you're from. We all get cut, we bleed the same colour."

'One voice'

On Tuesday night, political, community, religious and statutory leaders in the area issued a joint statement after discussing the ongoing tensions.

"For those who are responsible for the use of violence against any of our people or any part of our city, we say 'put away your guns and bombs and bring to an end the misery that you are imposing on our community'," they said.

"The city has always shown leadership in how it deals with community tensions and, following today's meeting, everyone has reaffirmed their commitment to ensure that this city speaks with one voice and if you hurt one of us, you hurt us all.

"We would appeal to anyone who has any information in relation to any of the recent attacks to give that information to the PSNI."

Earlier, Supt McCalmont said the bomb had been left "in the heart of the local community".

"This was a concerning attack that took the form of a brick hurled through a window, followed by a petrol bomb and then a pipe bomb," he said.

"Thankfully, the pipe bomb didn't explode, or we could have been looking at something very different today."

After the attack, a number of people were moved out of their homes to a local community centre.

'No place in our city'

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion called on community leaders to defuse the situation.

"An urgent approach involving all the relevant agencies and community representatives is required in order to address this issue before someone is seriously injured or even killed," she said.

Image caption Part of Heron Way remains cordoned off

Foyle DUP MLA Gary Middleton described the attack as "reckless and senseless".

"Paramilitary activity has no place in our society today and those who still continue to cling to criminality and violence are to be unequivocally condemned for their actions," he said.

SDLP councillor Martin Reilly said it was "a despicable attack" that could have had devastating consequences.

"Those behind this depraved attack have no place in our city. Their violence has been rejected by people here in the past and it will continue to be rejected today," he added.