The viable pipe bomb left in a street in east Belfast “could have seriously injured or killed a passer-by”, UUP MLA Andy Allen has said.
Army bomb squad officers were called to examine the device who declared it to be a pipe bomb.
A PSNI spokesmAn said no homes were evacuated during the operation which ended around 6am.
Mr Allen, who was co-opted as East Belfast MLA in recent months to replace Michael Copeland, said the device was left in an area “which is mainly residential”.
“There could have been cars driving past or people walking past and thankfully the device was found when it was.
“Anyone could have been walking about at.”
Mr Allen said he had “no inclination of any motive behind” why the device was left on the street, “but no matter why it was or where it was want to see a society where there is none of this”.
Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has criticised those who left a pipe bomb in East Belfast.
“The people behind the viable pipe bomb left on Island Street clearly have no regards for the lives of others in the community,” he said.
“This despicable act has no place in our society and we are very lucky we didn’t wake up to news someone had been seriously injured, or worse if this device had exploded.
“I would urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI as soon as possible. I hope those behind this can be brought to justice.”
Detective Constable Sam McCallum has appealed for anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in the Island Street area late on Wednesday or early on Thursday with any information to contact Detectives in Musgrave Police Station on the non-emergency number 101 or anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.