Suspected IRA dissidents have hijacked and burnt cars in Catholic parts of Northern Ireland in a coordinated effort to block roads and spark bomb threats, police have said.
Officers said they had received a wave of reports of vehicles being seized by masked gunmen in several parts of Belfast.
They were also called to disturbances in Lurgan, a town southwest of the city that is a power base for IRA dissidents.
Some vehicles were set on fire in roads to disrupt traffic at rush hour, while others were abandoned near four Belfast police stations and on Northern Ireland's major motorway.
Police said they were treating all the abandoned vehicles as potential car bombs, although they cautioned it was unlikely they were car bombs.
Roads were cordoned off and the M1 was shut city-bound close to the intersection with Lurgan, Co Armagh, as a precaution.
The latest upheaval came at the end of a month in which suspected IRA dissidents shot to death two soldiers and a policeman - the first killings of British security forces since 1998, the year of Northern Ireland's peace accord.
First Minister Peter Robinson blamed dissidents for the latest incidents.
He said: "The criminal terrorists responsible for the series of bomb-scares and hijackings are beneath contempt and have no support whatsoever in the community.
"In recent weeks, Northern Ireland has sent these murderers the message loud and clear. We will not be dragged back into death and mayhem."
Mr Robinson added: "The whole community must stand together to defeat these criminals and I appeal to anyone with information regarding the perpetrators of these evil criminal acts to come forward and share that information with the police.
"These criminals will fail because of the resolve of the people of Northern Ireland. The people of our Province have spoken over recent weeks: those who would try to destabilise and destroy Northern Ireland will fail. We won't be going back.
"I would appeal for calm and restraint from everyone in the community.
"Let us all work with the police to bring these criminal murderers to justice and put them behind bars where they belong."
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