Startled shoppers looked on in amazement as a bomber fled a Belfast sports outlet engulfed in flames and carrying a suspected firebomb.
The incident happened just days after a bomb exploded in the entertainment district in the city centre.
Dissident Republicans opposed to the peace process are believed to be behind the latest attempt to wreak Christmas havoc in Belfast.
Police are currently reviewing CCTV of the incident in the Cornmarket area of Belfast city.
A police spokesperson said: “Cornmarket was closed by police following the incident at around 6.40pm yesterday when a suspected incendiary device was left at a shop.
“The area was sealed off while an expert team examined the device.
“We are advising city centre businesses to check their premises for any suspicious objects.
“Anyone who was in the area at the time and who may have noticed any suspicious activity is asked to contact detectives.”
The firebomb attack was the second incident of the day in the Cornmarket area.
A second suspected incendiary device was examined and taken away for examination.