Police have warned the public against handling suspicious objects after a taxi driver removed a pipe bomb found near a health centre.
No-one was injured in the incident in Strabane but there was widespread condemnation of the bomb attack.
The taxi driver said the device was thrown into a car, but he decided to remove it after spotting that its fuse had not been lit. An Army bomb disposal team confirmed it was a viable device.
The pipe bomb was found in a car at Ballycolman Lane in the Co Tyrone town, before it was taken to Bradley Way about a quarter of a mile away.
Area Commander Chief Inspector Andy Lemon said the bombers were totally irresponsible. He said: "Yet again elements felt the need to attack a member of the community. A window of a car was broken and a device thrown inside with the intention of causing damage or causing injury.
"The device was lifted out by a member of the public and taken to waste ground. While those actions undoubtedly prevented a great deal more inconvenience than did take place, they are not something we normally recommend," he said. "Our advice to members of the public is that they should not handle suspicious objects but should report them to police."
SDLP Strabane councillor Eugene McMenamin said a number of businesses including a children's nursery play centre and the local bus depot were evacuated after a security alert was launched.
He said: "Unfortunately, everybody watched the news in horror this week at a child picking up a pipe bomb in Antrim, now we have a device which had the potential to cause serious injury or worse in the vicinity of a children's area. This is totally unacceptable.
"Anybody with information must give this to the police. Who is going to have the death of a child on their conscience before we see sense and desist from these disgraceful attacks?"
Alliance justice spokesman Stephen Farry said he was disgusted at those behind the incident. He added: "These thugs are trying to drag us back into the dark days of the Troubles. They obviously have no respect for the lives of other people."