Published Friday, 07 December 2012
The 'home made' device was made safe. (© UTV)
Four men were arrested after the EFP, or "explosively formed projectile", was discovered when the vehicle was stopped in the Creggan area at around 8.40pm on Thursday.
PSNI Chief Supt. Stephen Martin said it is the kind of device used by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan to penetrate armoured vehicles.
He added that it was viable and ready for use, and would have been targeted on a police vehicle and used to try and kill officers.
"This is a weapon primarily designed to kill," he explained.
These EFP devices are used in places like Afghanistan and Iraq with deadly consequences.
Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin
"It is a concern that an EFP has been recovered in Derry. But they have been found in other places so perhaps it is no surprise one has ended up here.
"The threat is severe. It has been severe for some time but I can assure everyone that the PSNI are going about their business in Derry, in the Creggan and in Northern Ireland.
"We will not be deterred from doing our duty."
Two 47-year-old men and another aged 40 were arrested as part of ongoing investigations into dissident republican activity.
A fourth man aged 41 was detained nearby.
The incident sparked a security alert in the Westway area of the city overnight. Residents were evacuated but have now been returned to their houses.
Policing Board Chair Brian Rea praised the work of PSNI in intercepting the car.
"These people do not care whose lives they disrupt or hurt and in this case police believe they were the intended target," he said.
"The police do need the support and help of the community for the work they are doing. I urge anyone with information on those who are trying to undermine our peace to pass that to the police directly or through Crimestoppers."
The police actions in finding this device have undoubtedly prevented death, injury or destruction.
Policing Board Chair Brian Rea
Local MLA Pat Ramsey described the device as "potentially murderous".
The SDLP representative said: "Police intercepted a car and I believe rammed the car.
"When I arrived there the bonnet was opened and police had sealed the area off and evacuated homes. They brought in the bomb disposal unit.
"It's good news this morning that police got a potentially murderous viable device off the streets, but it's disturbing that there are still those in our society who are intent on carrying out the destruction that they have."
Ronnie McKeegan of the UUP said: "If the bomb had reached its destination I dread to think of what the consequences would have been.
"I would like to congratulate the PSNI for their prompt actions in the city which undoubtedly saved lives and property from being destroyed."
The four men have been taken to Antrim Serious Crime Suite for questioning.
© UTV News