Armagh explosion 'could have caused serious injury'
Police said they believed the bomb was left at the dealership by a person carrying a backpack 10 minutes before it detonated around 12.40am.
The security alert at a car dealership on the Cathedral Road, Armagh continued for most of Sunday following reports of an explosion in the early hours.
It concluded around 6pm on Sunday. The PSNI revealed an exploded viable object was taken away for further examination.
All roads, apart from a small section of the Cathedral Road, had reopened by 6pm and most of the residents who were evacuated were able to return to their homes.
Detective Inspector Will Tate described the device as an "improvised viable pipe bomb type device".
"Police received a report of damage caused to four cars in the yard of a business premises just after 7.20am this morning, Sunday 13 March," he said.
"On further investigation it was thought that the damage was caused by an explosion.
"Further reports and investigations since then lead us to believe that the explosion occurred at approximately 12.40am and that the device was left by a person carrying a backpack at approximately 12.30am.
"ATO have described the object as an improvised viable pipe bomb type device.
"Today we are lucky that we are not dealing with a serious injury caused by this device and the reckless actions of the person or people behind it.
"I would ask anyone who has any information about this incident to contact detectives at Lurgan Police Station on the non-emergency number 101.
"Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111."
SDLP Newry and Armagh representative Justin McNulty condemned those behind the device.
"There has been extreme disruption to families, businesses and commuters in Armagh today as a result of this security alert," he said.
"Following reports of an explosion in the Cathedral Road area last night, the PSNI have confirmed that they have discovered component parts for an explosive device and that a number of cars at a local dealership were damaged.
"Those behind this sinister discovery have nothing to offer our community here. They were rejected by the people of this island, north and south, in 1998 and we continue to reject their failed philosophy today. Those who choose to pursue a path of violence have set themselves against the will of the Irish people. As these incidents have escalated in recent weeks, we must escalate our commitment to peace and send them a clear message - we will never be taken back.
Mindless security alert means Sisters who care for homeless have been put out of their home Cathedral Road, Armagh pic.twitter.com/f3dl797PKN— Justin McNulty (@JustinMcNu1ty) March 13, 2016
"I've spoken to a number of people who have been evacuated as a result of this alert including the Sisters of Charity whose faith and commitment to this community is second to none.
"I would appeal to anyone with information about this incident to come forward as soon as possible."
Belfast Telegraph Digital