Two potentially lethal car bombs found in Northern Ireland were aimed at killing police officers, a unionist minister has claimed.
The explosive devices were discovered after security alerts were triggered in a town near the Irish border and in Belfast.
Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy, who is also a minister in the Stormont government, said the device found near the border town of Newry was believed to be part of a plot to kill police.
Mr Kennedy said the dissidents were "dangerous and dedicated terrorists, who are determined to cause serious harm, injury and death to members of the security forces regardless of the consequences to local communities".
The Stormont minister said he was very concerned at the increasing number of attacks planned and executed by republican dissidents around Newry.
The bomb, containing 600lbs of homemade explosives, was found in an abandoned white Citroen Berlingo van in the Fathom Line area on Thursday evening.
Army bomb experts confirmed the bomb was a "viable device" and successfully disarmed it.
District Commander Chief Superintendent Alasdair Robinson said: "This was a very significant device. If this had exploded it would have caused devastation."
He said police could only "speculate" about a possible target for the huge bomb at this time.
"What there is no doubt about is that it was completely reckless to have this device anywhere near human life," he said.
The second bomb was found under a parked car in the Ballygomartin Road in north Belfast, causing the evacuation of homes in the area.
Chief Inspector Ian Campbell said: "Those responsible for this have shown callous disregard for members of the public.
"The operation resulted in the evacuation of up to 80 people, including families with young children and elderly residents, for several hours.
"The finger of suspicion points towards dissident republican terrorists and I appeal to anyone with information to come forward to police."
The explosives find came after another arms cache containing guns and ammunition was discovered by police in Belfast on Friday.