Terrorists who left a pipe bomb close to a primary school have been challenged to explain their actions.
A passing police patrol spotted the lethal device close to the gates of St Mark’s Primary School in Twinbrook, west Belfast, at around 12.10pm yesterday.
Young children at the school and a number of residents were evacuated by police during the four-hour alert.
The device had partially exploded and police said they believed it may have detonated elsewhere before being left in the Summerhill Drive area close to the school.
Army bomb experts have carried out a total of four controlled explosions over the past two days at several different alerts.
Sinn Féin MLA for west Belfast, Jennifer McCann, said those who left the pipe bomb at the school showed an absolute disregard for the local community and the children and staff within the school.
“Those responsible have put the lives of residents and both the children and teachers at the school in danger,” she said.
“Up to 15 homes have had to be evacuated and we have had to work very closely with the school to ensure that children were able to be collected and taken from school safely.
“Whoever is behind this needs to come forward and explain to the community, who they claim to represent, what the endangerment of children, teachers and residents has achieved.
“The simple fact is it has brought only worry and fear to this community, a community who have been very clear in the past that these actions are not wanted and are not carried out in their name.”
The area was cordoned off while Army technical officers examined the device.
PSNI Chief Inspector Darrin Jones urged anybody with information to come forward.
“Whether or not this device was left intentionally in this area or abandoned here, those who left it showed absolutely no regard for this community,” he said.
“Leaving a viable explosive device in a built-up area is reckless enough but to potentially endanger the lives of small children is beyond callous.”
Earlier a security alert close to the gates of a police station in Ballyclare was declared an elaborate hoax.
A controlled explosion was carried out on the object which was discovered on the Ballynure Road just after 8am. A number of residents were evacuated from their homes during the alert.
Yesterday’s security alerts followed three similar incidents on Tuesday.
A pipe bomb was discovered outside a Territorial Army barracks on the Malone Road in south Belfast, a controlled explosion was carried out on an object at Palace Barracks in Holywood and a car was destroyed following a controlled explosion carried out in north Belfast.