Riot police prevent clashes between rival UDA factions

Police in riot gear were called onto the streets of north Belfast overnight amid ongoing tensions surrounding the expulsion of the Shoukri brothers from the Ulster Defence Association.

Police in riot gear were called onto the streets of north Belfast overnight amid ongoing tensions surrounding the expulsion of the Shoukri brothers from the Ulster Defence Association.

Ihab and Andre Shoukri, who were the local leaders of the loyalist paramilitary group, were expelled by the so-called Inner Council last week.

The move has raised tensions between the mainstream UDA and supporters of the two half-Egyptian brothers, who are in prison awaiting trial on a range of charges.

Riot police were dispatched last night when around 300 UDA supporters gathered in the Ardoyne and Oldpark areas.

The police prevented the group from entering the Westland Road, which is regarded as the power base for the Shoukris.

The crowd eventually dispersed after being addressed by loyalist community representatives, but the police maintained a significant presence in the area throughout the night.

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