Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Pipe bombs defused on city street

security alert
The army dealt with security alerts in Armagh and Belfast

The army has defused three pipe bombs which had been left on a street in the Beechmount area of west Belfast.

They were found close to the Falls Road on Tuesday morning. The road has been reopened, although Shields Street remains closed.

Chief Inspector Amanda Cooke said one of the bombs was filled with nails.

"If was one of these had gone off there was every chance it could have either seriously injured or even killed someone in the area," she said.

Sinn Féin assembly member Paul Maskey condemned those responsible for leaving the pipe bombs.

"It shows a total disregard for the community of the Falls Road and their safety," he said.

"I want to call on anyone with any information to bring it forward to the police."

Meanwhile in Armagh, a suspicious object found near the courthouse was a hoax.

Schools and businesses in the College Hill area were evacuated and motorists were diverted from the scene.

The alert ended after a controlled explosion.

SDLP councillor Mealla Bratton said the Armagh alert brought early morning traffic to a standstill.

"This incident was obviously designed to cause havoc to early morning travellers on their way to school and work," she said.

"It caused disruption in and around the area of the Mall and College Hill and should be condemned across the board as an attack on our local economy."

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