Glenalina Road in the city was closed on Monday night after the incident.
Army bomb experts attended the scene of the security alert.
A PSNI spokeswoman said: "ATO have examined a suspicious object discovered in the area and have declared it to be a viable device, which has been taken away for further examination."
Residents who had to leave their properties were taken to Whiterock Community Centre.
They were allowed to return home after midnight on New Year's Day.
Local Sinn Féin Councillor Stephen Corr has condemned the attack.
He said: "This community is angry and annoyed that this has been visited upon them."
The security alert is over.