A pipe bomb that exploded in an east Belfast alley last night “could have killed”, the PSNI have said.
The device exploded at around 8.20pm in the Hyndford Street area off the Beersbridge Road.
Residents were evacuated and cordons put in place. Ammunition Technical Officers were tasked and a crude pipe bomb-type device was discovered next to a household bin.
Minor damage was caused to bin and there were no reports of injuries. Further forensic examination is to be carried out on the remnants of the device.
Inspector Greg Dawson said: “This was a reckless act carried out in a residential area with no consideration given as to who this device could have injured or killed.
“We would like to thank the local community for their patience and understanding during this time when they were moved from their homes for a number of hours while we carried out our investigation.
“I would ask anyone who noticed anyone acting suspicious in the area to call us on 101."
SDLP Belfast Group Leader councillor Séamas de Faoite described the attack as "extremely sinister".
“This pipe bomb attack on a residential area could have resulted in someone being seriously injured or worse," he said.
"I cannot understand what would motivate someone to attack the local community in this way, putting local residents and families at risk and causing disruption as they had to evacuate their homes.
“I would urge the people who carried out this attack to get off the back of the local community. This incident is extremely sinister and those behind it have nothing to offer to people in this area.
"I would encourage anyone with any information about this attack to come forward to police so that the people responsible for this can be apprehended.”
Alliance councillor David Bell said those behind the attack "have shown no regard for human life".
"This bomb could have caused serious damage, particularly as it was in a built-up area. It has also caused great disruption to the residents who were evacuated from their homes. Those behind this incident must be wholly condemned," he said.
"I urge anyone with any information to please contact the PSNI as soon as possible, so that the perpetrators behind this can be brought to justice."