Police have praised army bomb experts who prevented a device exploding inside a Co Down bank.
Officers were alerted at around 9.40am on Monday after two masked men dropped a bag, which they said contained a bomb, inside a branch of Santander in Newry.
Army technical experts were called to the scene and a large number of buildings around the centre of the city were evacuated.
Police later confirmed the bag contained a viable explosive device.
The attack followed a similar bombing of a Santander branch in Londonderry earlier this year which caused extensive damage.
Area commander for Newry and Mourne Chief Inspector Davy Beck said: "This was a viable device which was capable of causing death, serious injury and substantial damage to the area.
"I would place on record my gratitude to the army technical officer and his team for their actions, which clearly prevented the detonation of this device.
"Newry city centre is returning to normal at this point. However, a thorough investigation into the attack has been initiated.
"I would appeal to the community for information about the people who conducted this cowardly attack on the people of Newry and Mourne."
He asked anyone with information about the incident to contact police.