Published Wednesday, 11 September 2013
Police have removed the device for further testing. (© UTV)
The device was discovered by officers out on patrol close to St Mark's in the Summerhill Drive area of Twinbrook.
The school and eight nearby homes had to be evacuated and road closures put in place as army bomb squad officers were called to the scene at about 12.10pm.
They carried out tests on the suspicious object and found it to be a viable pipe bomb.
After four hours, residents were allowed to return home and road closures were lifted.
It is thought that the device may have detonated elsewhere before being discarded in the Summerhill Drive area.
Investigating officers want to hear from anyone who believes they may have heard a loud bang or explosion possibly during the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Chief Inspector Darrin Jones, Lisburn Area Commander, has condemned those responsible.
"Whether or not this device was left intentionally in this area or abandoned here, those who left it showed absolutely no regard for this community.
"Leaving a viable explosive device in a built up area is reckless enough but to potentially endanger the lives of small children is beyond callous," he added.
"I am urging anyone with information or who saw they device being left or perhaps heard a loud bang to contact the investigating detectives at Lisburn CID offices by calling 0845 600 8000."
Local councillor and DUP mayor of Lisburn, Margaret Tolerton, said those who left the pipe bomb could have caused a tragedy.
"I'm very angry," she told UTV. "This has disrupted people's lives and it's very dangerous, there could have been a fatality and a tragedy.
"I thought we had moved on and this was behind us."
Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast Jennifer McCann said local people are outraged.
"Up to 15 homes had to be evacuated and we have had to work very closely with the school to ensure that children were able to be collected and taken from school safely," she said.
"The latter was most important, given the fact that this device has been left extremely close to the railings of St Mark's nursery.
"There has been a huge amount of disruption and anger generated in this community. Whoever is behind this need to come forward and explain to the community, who they claim to represent, what the endangerment of children, teachers and residents has achieved."
SDLP Councillor Brian Heading has hit out at those responsible saying they engaged in reckless behaviour.
"They offer nothing to the people of West Belfast who will be appalled at the wanton disregard shown for human life and in particular the safety of our young children.
"During this alert a number of residents were evacuated from their homes which must have been an extremely frightening experience for them and their families" he added.
"I want to commend the police for their swift response in making the area safe and allowing residents to return to their homes this afternoon."
© UTV News