Belfast Telegraph

Pipe bomb discovered near school

A viable pipe bomb has been recovered close to a west Belfast primary school.

The alarm was raised after a suspicious object was found close to the railings of St Mark's school in the Summerhill Drive area of Twinbrook at about midday.

The school and eight houses had to be evacuated while Army bomb experts made the device safe.

A spokesman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland said residents had now been allowed to return to their homes and roads in the area had re-opened.

"Police inquiries are continuing," he said.

The security alert lasted for several hours.

Sinn Fein MLA for West Belfast Jennifer McCann said those behind the bomb alert had shown no regard for the local community.

She said: "Those responsible have put the lives of residents and both the children and teachers at the school in danger. This device has been left extremely close to the railings of St Mark's nursery.

"There has been a huge amount of disruption and anger generated in this community. Whoever is behind this need 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."

Police have confirmed the pipe bomb partially exploded before being dumped close to the primary school.

Chief Inspector Darrin Jones, Lisburn area commander with the Police Service of Northern Ireland, described the perpetrators as reckless.

Mr Jones said: "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.

"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."

The PSNI are appealing for anyone who may have heard a loud bang or explosion during the early hours of this morning to come forward.

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