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Shankill bomber released from questioning in McGuigan murder probe

Kevin McGuigan (left) was shot dead outside his home last week. Shankill bomber Sean Kelly was arrested on Tuesday by detectives investigating the murder. He was released on Wednesday

SHANKILL bomber Sean Kelly who was among six people arrested by detectives investigating the murder of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan, has been released from custody

The 44-year-old was arrested at his Ardoyne home on Tuesday along with two other men aged 53 and 41, who were arrested in south Belfast

A 39-year-old man was arrested and two guns recovered during searches yesterday afternoon in west Belfast and a 49-year-old man and 32-year-old woman have been arrested today.

Kevin McGuigan was shot dead by two masked men outside his home in Comber Court home on August 12. The 53-year-old had been warned by police that his life was under threat following speculation he was responsible for the murder of former IRA commander Gerard 'Jock' Davison. Davison was shot dead in the Markets area of south Belfast in May.

Former IRA associates of the 47-year-old are believed to have murdered Mr McGuigan in a revenge attack.

The Irish News revealed how an eye witness told republicans they had seen McGuigan walking away from the shooting in Upper Stanfield Street on the morning of Jock Davison's murder.

Mr McGuigan's eldest son Kevin jnr has also been warned that his life is also under threat since his father's murder.

Convicted of the 1993 bombing that killed nine Protestants and IRA man Thomas Begley, Kelly was released from prison in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

In July 2005, the IRA man's licence was revoked by the then secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain who claimed he had become "re-involved in terrorism".

The secretary of state ordered hos release ten days later on the eve of a statement by the IRA calling an end to its armed campaign.

In February 2013 Kelly was arrested and questioned in connection with the kneecapping of a teenager outside the Flax shopping centre in Ardoyne but released a few hours later.

At the time Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly criticised the arrest saying that the north Belfast republican had always been a supporter of the peace process and that the PSNI "had questions to answer".

Later that year on the 20th anniversary of the bombing Kelly - who himself suffered serious injuries when the bomb he was planting exploded prematurely - apologised to the victims of the atrocity.

Speaking at a commemoration for Thomas Begley he said; "I am truly sorry for the loss of life and the injuries that were suffered that day and for the suffering the families have endured".

However his apology was dismissed by Alan McBride whose wife died in the blast.

"I'm not suggesting for a minute my wife was the intended target, but she wasn't even considered, her life wasn't even considered that it was worth anything," Mr McBride said at the time.

Detective Chief Inspector John McVea said yesterday that the firearms have been sent for forensic examination "as part of the overall investigation" into the murder of Mr McGuigan.

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