Gun attack linked to loyalist feud

 

Police forensic experts have examined bullets fired at a Belfast home in a gun attack linked to the simmering loyalist feud.

A family escaped injury when up to six shots were fired through the living room window of their house in the Ballysillan district of north Belfast. The 46-year-old Protestant, who did not wish to be named, said he and his family were "unbelievably lucky to be alive".

The man, his wife and their two teenage children were at home when the gunmen struck on Sunday night. Sources have linked the shooting to a bitter power-struggle inside the UDA which last year had its ceasefire declared bogus by the Northern Secretary.

Earlier, a UDA commander was targeted by bombers for a third time within a fortnight.

Army explosives experts defused a pipe bomb outside the home of Mr John "Grug" Gregg on the outskirts of the city. He is said to lead the UDA's south-east Antrim brigade.

Mr Gregg is closely aligned to the team who expelled Mr Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair and his lower Shankill C Company of the UDA. Mr Adair was expelled from the organisation in October, a move which is linked to the current tensions.

Two days earlier a similar device was discovered at Mr Gregg's house in the Rathcoole area of Newtownabbey, Co Antrim. Earlier this month he found explosives packed to his car.

Mr Gregg was jailed in the 1980s for a failed murder plot against the Sinn Féin President, Mr Gerry Adams.

The man whose home was attacked said: "We were watching television at the time when the security light came on. Next thing there were shots being fired through the living room. The two boys were sitting on the sofa and had to dive for cover. The last shots actually hit where the boys had been lying. I'm convinced that not only were they trying to kill me, but the boys as well."

He said he would not be forced out of his home. "This will happen again because that seems to be the way things are going at the moment. I know it was Adair, but I don't know why," he added.

Three people have lost their lives in attacks related to the loyalist feud to date.