Two men were arrested today by detectives investigating the murders of UDA boss John Gregg and another man in the docks area of Belfast, police said.
Gregg, 45, the loyalist Ulster Defence Association’s South East Antrim commander, and another member of the organisation, Robert Carson, 33, were gunned down as they returned home from a Glasgow Rangers game in Scotland.
The attack has been blamed on Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair’s “C” Company, which earlier this week withdrew from peace talks between the two factions.
Gregg who was targeted twice in recent weeks, was one of the members of the UDA’s inner council which expelled Adair and his close associate John White from the organisation in September.
The double murder brings to four the number of people killed in this latest feud.
Gregg, who had a wife and son and two stepdaughters, had been a hero figure among many loyalists after he was jailed for 18 years for shooting Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams in 1984.
In an interview inside the Maze prison he was asked if he had any regrets over the incident. He said: “Only that I didn’t finish the job.”
Tommy Kirkham who represents the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) which has links with the UDA, said the Gregg family were devastated by his murder.
“I know that people both in and out of the organisation are stunned by this and will recover in their own time. In the meantime we have a double funeral to plan for,” he added.
Meanwhile the homes of three loyalists were targeted in three other attacks linked to the feud.
A shot was fired through the living room window of a house at Carmeen Drive in Rathcoole, Newtownabbey belonging to Sammy Duddy, a spokesman for the Ulster Political Research Group
and an opponent of Johnny Adair.
Duddy and his wife were not in the house which has been targeted on a number of occasions.
A red vehicle was spotted driving away after the attack which took place around 9pm yesterday.
Later, a house at Albert Road in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim was attacked with a pipe bomb.
Andre Shoukri, the North Belfast commander of the UDA, had been living in the property. The device failed to explode and was removed by Army bomb experts for forensic examination.
Shoukri, nicknamed “the Egyptian“, had been let out on bail on a firearms offence with the proviso that he stayed away from north Belfast.
Early this morning a man narrowly escaped injury after a number of shots were fired through the front door of a house in Kilmory Gardens in the Tullycarnet area of east Belfast.
Two masked men had attempted to break into the flat and when they failed, fired a number of shots through the door.
As loyalist activity was stepped up, three men were arrested after a gun was recovered from a car stopped in the loyalist Westland Drive area of north Belfast early today.
Army bomb experts later defused a pipe bomb which was found at the junction of Cavehill Road and Westland Road. A number of items were taken away for forensic examination.