'Substantial bomb' aimed at cops in North Belfast
A controlled explosion has been carried out on what the police have described a "substantial bomb" in North Belfast.
A man contacted North Belfast priest Father Gary Donegan in a warning call on Thursday night to say the device had been left "near the bookies."
Fr Donegan said: "It was literally one minute past 12 when I got the call, just a male voice stating that there was a device near the bookies.
"I asked for a code word, there wasn't one forthcoming, and they said [the device was] at the top of Brompton Park."
He added: "All day there's been lockdown here until eventually the device was discovered this evening.
"We've had the situation where public mass this evening, for the first time since 1869, was actually cancelled in Holy Cross Church."
Chief Superintendent Nigel Grimshaw said: “We have located a significant, viable, explosive device following a comprehensive and painstaking search operation which started last night.
"The security operation was a result of information we received that a device had been left which was designed to attack police but had not detonated."
He added: “We are talking about what I believe is a fairly substantial improvised explosive, cylinder-type device.
“It was placed in a position to attack police that may have been in the vicinity.
“Without question, even at this stage, I am absolutely convinced it would have killed or seriously injured police had it detonated.
“What we have dealt with is a totally reckless act, compounded by an absolute lack of information.
“These people have no regard for their own community, and I must pay tribute to the communities on all sides of what is an interface, who have been cooperating and working with police to minimise disruption.
“I am very grateful we are not dealing with casualties.
“Enquiries are at the early stages, but of course it bears the hallmarks of dissident republican terrorism – this is a terrorist act.
“And I fail to see what this brings in terms of benefits to any community and we need to condemn this outright.”