No injuries as small bomb explodes in NIreland

A small bomb exploded Saturday outside a bank in the Northern Ireland city of Londonderry, police and officials said. The area had been evacuated and there were no injuries.

Officials suspected Irish nationalist dissidents were behind the blast in a busy shopping district of Northern Ireland's second city.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said the explosion followed a warning and the area had been evacuated when the bomb went off Saturday afternoon.

Gerry MacLochlainn, a local councilor with the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party, said the explosion was caused by a bomb targeting a bank.

"Thankfully this was a small device and no injuries and no serious damage was caused," he said.

He added that "the people who carried out the attack need to realize that they have been rejected by the republican community and should desist immediately."

Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford condemned "an attack on the local community."

Irish Republican Army dissidents opposed to the province's peace process have attempted a number of recent bombings and shootings, though few have killed anyone. In April, dissidents killed a Catholic policeman, 25-year-old Ronan Kerr, with a booby-trap bomb under his car.

A huge security operation was in place this week as Queen Elizabeth II visited the neighboring Republic of Ireland — the first ever visit to the republic by a British monarch. Some nationalists opposed the visit by the head of state of Ireland's former colonial ruler, and a bomb was discovered on a suburban bus near Dublin hours before her arrival.

The four-day visit ended Friday.