Three bombs planted outside houses in north Belfast today could have caused carnage and destruction, police said.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland was alerted to the devices by a telephoned warning in the middle of the night.
A caller said the devices had been left at addresses in Hallidays Road, New Lodge Road and North Queen Street.
All three streets in nationalist areas were cordoned off shortly after 3.30am and army bomb disposal experts worked for several hours to make safe what they described as viable devices.
There was no claim of responsibility, but dissident republicans were suspected of being responsible. The devices were being examined.
Detectives investigating the incidents appealed for anyone who may have seen anything suspicious or out of the ordinary in the early hours of the morning in the three areas to contact them.
Acting Detective Inspector Alan Little condemned those responsible and said they were out of step with the rest of society.
“Fortunately, none of these devices detonated. We could have been dealing with carnage and destruction this morning.
“Anyone who can help us prevent this type of activity should come forward to the police.”
He added: “Those responsible for planting these devices show a callous disregard for human life. They pay no attention to the wishes of those within their own communities who want to live their lives without this type of threat, disruption and inconvenience.
“Those responsible seem intent on following their own selfish agenda and the only way for communities to be free from such activity is to help officers bring these criminals before the courts.”