Published Thursday, 04 October 2012
A bomb has been found during an alert at Jamaica Street. (© UTV)
The bomb was found following a clearance operation by an army bomb squad at Jamaica Street on Thursday. It has been made safe by army officers.
Condemning the incident, Chief Inspector Andrew Freeburn, Area Commander for the area, said:
"Once again the community of North Belfast have been disrupted and the lives of residents put at risk by an element intent on causing as much loss of life and disruption as they can."
He said those responsible showed "a callous disregard for the lives of everyone in our community".
"I am sure the residents in the area and the wider public will be just as angry as I am about this discovery. They have every right to be outraged however what we need now is information about who left the device there in the first place."
This is a residential area and we could have been looking at serious tragedy here. There is absolutely no doubt that this device was intended to murder.
Ch Insp Andrew Freeburn
Ardoyne Community Centre was opened for residents who were evacuated from their homes during the alert, which began on Thursday afternoon.
Jamaica Street has been reopened to traffic and families have been allowed to return to their homes.
DUP MP for North Belfast Nigel Dodds said it was "outrageous" that the device was left in a densely populated area.
"Once again the lives of residents have been put at risk through the callous and reckless actions of a tiny number of terrorists. Suspicion will fall upon dissident republicans who have once again displayed their total disregard for the lives of people in Ardoyne and the wider area," he said.
Mr Dodds commended police officers and army officers in making the area safe.
The discovery of this device has potentially saved members of the security forces and the public from serious injury or death, which is a great relief.
Local Sinn Féin councillor Gerard McCabe said: "Not only have those responsible endangered local residents but they have also forced over 30 families to leave their homes while the device was dealt with," he said.
"Thankfully no-one was injured and those evacuated have returned to their homes."
Ch Insp Freeburn thanked the people in the area "for their patience during the security operation".
"We remain committed to delivering the service our community deserves and will continue to work tirelessly to bring those responsible to justice," he added.
Police have called on anyone with information to contact them.