A “substantial” bomb found in a residential area of north Belfast could have caused serious tragedy, according to police.
A local commander slammed those who left the device as having “a callous disregard for the lives of everyone in our community”.
Around 30 houses in Jamaica Street in Ardoyne were evacuated after the police discovered the viable device at a property just after 3pm yesterday.
The Jamaica Street area was cordoned off for around five hours while army explosives experts made the device safe.
Ardoyne Community Centre was made available to residents, but many people chose to stay in their homes, while others went to friends and relatives.
Sinn Fein Councillor Gerry McCabe described leaving the bomb in the area as “ludicrous”.
“The PSNI were carrying out what they described as a routine search of a house in the Jamaica Street area of Ardoyne where they subsequently discovered this suspect device,” he said.
“This was a ludicrous act for anyone to leave a device somewhere where an innocent person could be seriously hurt or even killed.”
One man, who returned home from work during the alert, said: “It’s usually quiet here. The house they are looking at belongs to an elderly lady, so I can’t understand what’s happening.
SDLP Oldpark Councillor Nichola Mallon said there was “anxiety and frustration” among residents.
She also said it was disappointing that the lives of local people were disrupted, particularly at a time when children were heading home after school and people were starting to return from their day’s work.
Area Commander for North Belfast, Chief Inspector Andrew Freeburn said it was unfair that once again the local community was put in danger.
“The people who carried this out showed a callous disregard for the lives of everyone in our community,” he said.
“This is a residential area and we could have been looking at serious tragedy here. There is absolutely no doubt that this device was intended to murder.”