Northern Ireland police recover four suspected pipe bombs in cemetery ahead of Biden visit

11 April 2023, 13:43 | Updated: 11 April 2023, 18:35

Four suspected pipe bombs have been recovered in cemetery in Northern Ireland, police have said.
Four suspected pipe bombs have been recovered in cemetery in Northern Ireland, police have said. Picture: PSNI / Alamy

By Asher McShane

Four suspected pipe bombs have been recovered in cemetery in Northern Ireland, police have said.

Londonderry's City Cemetery was closed to visitors on Tuesday morning as officers examined the scene.

The discovery comes just hours before US president Joe Biden's visit to Belfast, around 70 miles southeast of Derry.

Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton called the find a "sinister and worrying" development.

"The actions of those responsible are reprehensible and show a complete disregard and utter contempt for the community," he said.

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"These suspected pipe bombs were left in a cemetery a place where people lay loved ones to rest and visit to pay their respects. That is absolutely shameful."

ACC Singleton said the devices were made safe and have been removed for further forensic examination.

Four devices were recovered by police and are now being examined
Four devices were recovered by police and are now being examined. Picture: PSNI

He said the investigation would now be led by counter-terrorism officers.

Earlier, two robots, usually deployed to examine suspicious objects, were seen searching between the headstones at the site.

Police closed the City Cemetery in Creggan, writing online: "A public safety operation is currently underway in Creggan after a suspicious device was found inside the grounds of the City Cemetery off Lone Moor Road."

A PSNI vehicle inside Derry City Cemetery
A PSNI vehicle inside Derry City Cemetery. Picture: Alamy

The operation took place a day after the republican event at the cemetery.

Prior to the event at the republican plot in the cemetery, there were scenes of violence in the Creggan area of Derry when a number of missiles, including petrol bombs, were hurled by young people at a police Land Rover monitoring the pre-commemoration parade.

The illegal parade started in the Central Drive area when a number of masked men in paramilitary-style dress formed a colour party carrying the Irish flag and a host of republican flags.

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Bomb disposal robots were deployed at the cemetery
Bomb disposal robots were deployed at the cemetery. Picture: Alamy

As the parade progressed towards the City Cemetery, the police Land Rover came under attack, with masked youths throwing petrol bombs and firing fireworks before it drove off in flames.

Commenting on the security operation, Foyle MP Colum Eastwood tweeted: "People can't get to the graves of their loved because of the actions of a few with no political mandate and no support.

"Hoping the city cemetery is made safe as soon as possible."

Mr Biden arrives in capital late on Tuesday at a sensitive political time in the country as he marks the 25-year anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, a peace deal that largely ended three decades of conflict there.

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