The incident, in Armagh city, was the latest example of the "punishment attacks" which both republican and loyalist groups carry out.
The attack happened as an attempted mortar attack on security force patrols in the Falls Road area of Belfast was aborted by the IRA. The alert was raised when a telephone caller using a recognised IRA code-word warned that a device had been left near Andersonstown RUC station.
After the device was made safe the RUC's West Belfast commander, Ian Williamson, said : "I am angry that a relatively small number of people from Sinn Fein/IRA seem determined to prosecute what can only described as a pathetic, grubby, but lethal little war."
Meanwhile, last night the terrorist group claimed responsibility for the murder of the soldier Stephen Restorick.
The attack on the teenager, Judith Boylan, was reminiscent of the tarring and feathering incidents in the early days of the Troubles, when girls and women who associated with soldiers were branded "soldier dolls" by the IRA.