A pipe bomb was made safe by Army experts after a security alert closed Belfast’s Malone Road for several hours yesterday.
There was also traffic chaos in other areas as suspect devices were examined in north Belfast and in Holywood, both of which turned out to be hoaxes.
The Malone Road was closed between Adelaide Park and Cranmore Park around midday. Translink said bus services in the area were also affected.
Following a controlled explosion, the Malone Road was eventually opened to traffic shortly after 5pm.
In north Belfast, a Volkswagen Sharan containing a beer keg was discovered abandoned around 5am just off the Crumlin Road.
The vehicle was left with its hazard lights on at Hillview Road after being hijacked in the Lenadoon area.
A local primary school principal hit out at those responsible after the school day was disrupted for many pupils.
Principal Jonathan Manning of Edenbrooke Primary on Tennant Street described the security alert as a “worrying development” in light of recent threats in the area. Up to 80 homes were evacuated when the hijacked Volkswagen was discovered.
Mr Manning said they were able to open the school at 10am. He said: “It was an inconvenience as you don’t expect anything like that on a Tuesday morning coming into school. Many of the pupils had to move out of their homes early in the morning, around 5am. But we seem to have most children in school which is a positive. The car was not a huge distance away from the school. Certainly there were children coming in this morning who were shaken up by it.”
Mr Manning added: “You could hear the controlled explosion and a lot of them were talking about the noise of the bang.
“The fear is that it would affect them psychologically, under the surface, the fear that it would happen so close to a school is pretty horrendous.”
Last week the Red Hand Defenders issued threats against three Catholic schools in north Belfast.
DUP councillor Brian Kingston condemned the security alert but said he did not believe “it was linked to the threats to Holy Cross Primary School or the threats to FG Wilson workers via graffiti on the Springfield Road”.
Alliance MLA Anna Lo urged anyone with information to come forward and said: “There is no place in our society for violence. Somebody could have been seriously injured or worse if this pipe bomb had exploded.”