Police work to find target of bomb near Belfast school

Bomb find scene Army bomb disposal officers and police dealt with the bomb

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Police are working to identify the intended target for a bomb found near a school in west Belfast.

Two controlled explosions were carried out on the device on Ballymagarry Lane near Springhill primary school. Forensics teams have been searching along the road, which has now reopened.

Police said the device "could have been an under-car booby trap designed to kill and maim".

It is believed that dissident republicans were behind the incident.

Potential targets

Detectives have examined a number of cars that passed along the road in the hours before the bomb was discovered on Monday, but they do not believe it was attached to any of them.

Analysis

Someone had a lucky escape, but the police do not yet know who it was.

The bomb was discovered 11 days after prison officer David Black was shot dead by dissident republicans as he drove along the M1 on his way to work at Maghaberry prison.

A recently-formed group calling itself the IRA has said it was responsible.

Police are concerned that dissidents will attempt to carry out further attacks in the weeks ahead.

Members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, prison officers and other potential targets have been warned to be on their guard.

They have been trying to identify and contact other potential targets who may have travelled along the road.

North Belfast assembly members William Humphrey and Alban Maginness have condemned those responsible.

Mr Humphrey, a DUP MLA, said the bomb could have caused "carnage".

"Nearly 350 households were affected by this device which we now know was viable," he said.

"This was a reckless and indiscriminate event, something very sinister and worrying."

He added that he had been told by police the device had been attached to a car and had fallen off.

"This is a built-up area, it's densely populated with primary schools nearby. We could have had carnage here today," he said.

SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness described it as a "very dangerous device".

"It could have quite easily killed somebody or seriously injured them," he said.

"It was designed to do as much damage as possible and therefore it is a very disturbing discovery."

Staff and pupils at Springhill PS, Springfield PS, Harmony PS and Forthriver PS had to stay indoors during the alert. A number of nearby homes were also evacuated.

The police have appealed for anyone who noticed anything suspicious in the area over the weekend to contact them.

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