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Viable explosive device which 'could have killed or maimed' has been made safe following a 24 hour security alert in west Belfast

PSNI speak of their relief the device is now "out of circulation".

A viable explosive device which could have killed or maimed has been made safe following a 24 hour security alert in west Belfast.

A section of the Brians Well Road in Dunmurray was closed for two days following a report to police that a suspicious object had been there left.

On Sunday evening the PSNI announced that the security alert had ended, revealing that a viable explosive device had been found and made safe by army experts. The remains have been removed for forensic examination.

PSNI officers, the police helicopter and army's ATO were involved in the operation.

The area was secured by police and a full clearance operation began on Saturday evening.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Chris Noble said it is fortunate that no-one was killed or maimed by the device.

"We are relieved to have taken this explosive device out of circulation," he said.

"I believe it was designed to kill or seriously injure officers serving the local community in West Belfast, but it was also left in a position where there is every possibility that it could have killed or maimed members of the public.

"Those who left this device have shown callous disregard for the safety of the local community and the police officers serving this community. We are extremely fortunate that no one was killed or seriously injured."

Chief Supt Noble thanked the local community for their patience and understanding during the police operation.

"Our primary aim has been community safety," he said.

"We are committed to doing this by working with the community.

"The security operation caused significant disruption to the people of the area, but was required in order to keep people safe.

"Secondly, it is important to condemn those criminals who caused this upset, the overwhelming number of people in the community do not want this type of activity and we as a police service will continue to work to bring those responsible before the courts.

"The blame for this incident lies squarely on the reckless individuals who placed this device.

“We have had officers in the area since yesterday evening (14 January). These officers have worked hard to keep people safe during the security operation. However, these same officers could have been better used in meeting areas of community concern. Arresting drug dealers, drink drivers or working with victims of domestic abuse, for example.

“I would ask anyone with information on those who may be responsible to contact detectives in Musgrave Police Station on 101.

"Or, you can contact Crimestoppers and speak with then anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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