Dissident republicans blamed for viable bomb 'which could have killed'
Dissident republicans have been blamed for a viable bomb 'which could have killed' found during a security alert in Lurgan, causing the evacuation of schools in the area today.
A security alert in the Sloan Street area of Lurgan began following the discovery of a suspicious object.
As a result two schools - Ceara Special School and Carrick Primary School - were closed while Army bomb experts dealt with the device.
Police have now described it as a 'viable explosive device' which could have killed.
It has been taken away for further examination.
Education Minister John O'Dowd said he was "disgusted" at the actions of those responsible.
"This attack was against the most vulnerable in our society and is a clear indication of the contempt that those responsible hold for the entire community," he said.
"There is no more stark contrast when you look at the action of the bombers and the actions of those who work in Ceara School day after day caring and loving for their pupils.
"Ceara School, its staff, pupils and parents represent everything we can be proud of in our community."
Also condemning those who left the device, PSNI Chief Inspector Anthony McNally said it was "designed to kill or maim anyone close by, police officers or local people alike".
"Those responsible showed blatant disregard for the local community and put the lives of local people, indeed local children at risk. We are very fortunate no-one was killed or injured," he said.
"I would like to thank to local residents and wider community in the area for their patience and support throughout this operation and I want to reassure them that we will not be deterred by this attack.
"We will continue to deliver the personal, professional and protective service that the vast majority of residents in the Lurgan area want to see."
Police believe dissident republicans were responsible for leaving the bomb.
Speaking earlier, the SDLP's Dolores Kelly said the disruption caused was "completely unacceptable".
"This security alert at Ceara School is completely unacceptable and distressing for the pupils and their families
"As local people will know, Ceara School is a special needs school and this kind of disruption can make students really anxious".
Meanwhile a nursery school in Holywood was also shut earlier today following the discovery of a suspect object in a hedge on Church Road.
The security alert has now ended, with police describing it as a hoax.
Roads in the are have now reopened.