POLICE are investigating the circumstances surrounding a pipe bomb blast which forced residents out of a number of homes in south Belfast.
One line of enquiry by detectives is that it could be a race hate attack.
PSNI attended the scene following reports of an explosion in Melrose Street just off the Lisburn Road on Friday night.
The area was sealed off and Army bomb experts were tasked to the scene to investigate the reports.
“There are no reports of any injuries,” a PSNI spokesman said.
On Saturday morning, police confirmed that the source of the explosion was a pipe bomb device.
Police say it was a “viable device” and it only partially exploded.
However, they haven’t ruled out the possibility that it may have been racially motivated.
On Thursday night paint was thrown over the Islamic Centre in the Wellington Park area of south Belfast.
It followed the horrific murder of soldier drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, London by two radical Islam converts.
The remains of the pipe bomb device have been taken away for forensic examination.
Morton Community Centre in Lorne Street was made available for residents who had to leave their homes.
Police said the incident ended at around 2.40am on Saturday.
Melrose Street later reopened and residents have been allowed to return to their homes.
Detectives at Musgrave Street PSNI station have appealed for anyone with information about the attack to contact them on 0845 600 8000.