A 100lb bomb left in Bishop Street in the heart of Derry City was successfully defused.
Had it gone off, police say, it would have killed and injured people in the area as well as wrecking a number of properties including the historic St Columb’s Church of Ireland Cathedral.
Donegaldaily.com has learned that overt and covert operations by Gardai have been stepped up in the past 48 hours as a result of the incident.
They have been liaising with PSNI detectives in the investigation into the bomb attempt.
They are investigating the possibility that the device was made in Donegal and transported to the city centre via the old Letterkenny Road.
Cops in Derry revealed yesterday say the bomb is a ‘substantial viable device’.
Children as young as seven attending a choir rehearsal at St Columb’s Cathedral had to be evacuated during Sunday night’s alert.
PSNI District Commander, Stephen Martin, said he believed it was left by dissident republicans, and could have caused death or serious injury.
Dozens of elderly residents – mostly Protestants – were also moved from a sheltered housing development due to the alert.
“If a bomb such as this had gone off it would have killed or seriously injured people,” said Martin.
“It would have caused substantial damage to nearby property; to the courthouse, to the Masonic Hall, to the Deanery, to other residents.
“It would have probably damaged the residential home, Alexander House.
“It’s just a highly built up residential part of the city within the walls and a device this size would have caused considerable devastation.”
Dean William Morton of St Columb’s Cathedral described the incident as a “logistical nightmare”.
He contacted parents of choirboys, some of them as young as seven, who were at the Cathedral for a rehearsal for the opera, Tosca.
“It’s achieving absolutely nothing other than galvanising the resolve on the part of the huge majority of people here to move ahead,” he said.
Sinn Fein MLA, Martina Anderson, said the device was out of step with the views of the vast majority of the people of the North West.