Gun attack victim 'improving'

A 25-year-old man remained in intensive care tonight after being shot in the North.

The man underwent emergency surgery after being shot three times in an attack in north Belfast which police are treating as attempted murder.

He was sitting in a car with two friends in Brookfield Place in the republican Ardoyne area of the city at around 9.30pm last night when three or four masked men appeared.

One opened fire through the driver’s window, hitting the man in the abdomen and both legs.

A spokesman for Belfast’s Mater Hospital said the man’s condition, which had been critical, had improved during the day and was now stable.

Detectives said they have not yet established a motive for the attack.

One of the other men in the car suffered a graze wound to his leg while the other was unhurt.

Sinn Féin junior minister at Stormont and north Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly said the attackers had set out to kill.

“I want to condemn this incident outright. Those responsible for this attack are not representative of this community in any way, they have no support and they offer our people nothing but further distress in the time ahead,” he said.

“This young man has been left critically injured and it is clear that this was an attempt to take this young person’s life.

“The people of Ardoyne and wider north Belfast have suffered enough, particularly our young people.”

People in the North continue to be subject to paramilitary-style “punishment” attacks despite the end of the Troubles.

However, SDLP north Belfast MLA Alban Maginness questioned whether this was such an incident as the victim’s wounds were not confined to the arms and legs.

“This is a serious development because it seems to have been more than a punishment attack as the man was shot in the abdomen,” he said.

“First of all, I appeal to anyone who may know anything about the circumstances of this attack to get in touch with the police. But we must do more.

“The people of Ardoyne were at the sharp end of the Troubles for decades and they suffered greatly.

“We have many difficult problems to deal with in the area, but the one thing we can be absolutely sure of is that those who carry out these shootings have no solutions to offer.

“They don’t want solutions, they want to keep communities in turmoil so they can exercise control.

“They can only harm the community and they must be isolated in the community.

“They must realise that they will face our police and our courts and end up spending long periods in our jails.

“And when they are eventually released, they will have to come back into a much better and happier community which has long forgotten them and only has contempt for what they stood for and what they did to those they would probably claim are their own people.”


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