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Belfast bomb 'could have caused death'

An explosive device found in a heavily populated area of Belfast city centre "was capable of causing death or serious injury", police have said.

A controlled explosion was carried out and the bomb has been removed for further inspection, police said.

It was found last night and major disruption was caused in the area. Residences and commercial premises in the city centre were evacuated overnight as police and army technical officers took steps to make the device safe.

Police Inspector Eugene King thanked local businesses and residents for their patience during the alert.

"This was a viable device which was capable of causing death or serious injury and I would appeal to the community for information about the people who left this deadly device in the heart of our city," he said.

SDLP South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell condemned those responsible for the Bradbury Place alert.

"Businesses in Belfast, and in Bradbury Place where many bars and restaurants are located, are fighting hard against the current economic tide and do not need the added pressure of competing against viable devices," he said.

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"Many workers had to wait several hours this morning before they could get to their place of work. That's unacceptable."

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