A van abandoned outside a police station in a border town in Northern Ireland contained a 300lb bomb, police said today.
The viable device left in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone, last night failed to detonate and has been made safe by Army bomb disposal officers.
The bomb bid has been blamed on dissident republican terrorists.
The violent renegades opposed to the peace process have launched a series of similar attacks on police and court buildings this year.
Around 350 people were evacuated from their homes and had to spend the night at a nearby church and community halls during the alert.
The white Ford Transit van - registration R124 FHJ - was left at the police station at around 10.10pm and a coded telephone warning to a Belfast newspaper claimed it would explode in an hour.
Police Service of Northern Ireland Superintendent Brian Kee said his officers were still carrying out the evacuation when the 60- minute deadline elapsed but fortunately the bomb failed to go off.
"If it had detonated it would have caused widespread devastation in the village and it's very likely that lives would have been lost," he said.
"An hour sounds like a long time but when you have to evacuate 350 people it's a very short period of time and we were still evacuating people when the hour was up."
A suspected getaway car - a blue Toyota Avensis - was found burned out across the border in Co Monaghan in the wake of the botched attack.
Mr Kee condemned those responsible as "terrorist criminals".
"They had no consideration at all on the impact of the village," he said.
"They have no community support, no mandate and no idea where they are going.
"I would appeal to them to cease their activities. Sooner or later we will arrest them and bring them to take and they will face a very long time in jail."
He appealed for anyone with information about the incident to come forward.Reuse content