Northern Ireland news

Man shot in west Belfast has potentially 'life-changing injuries'

Ardmonagh Parade in the Turf Lodge area of west Belfast where a man in his 20s was shot three times. Picture by Mal McCann

A young father-of-one targeted in a paramilitary-style attack in west Belfast on Thursday has suffered "potentially life-changing injuries".

The 20-year-old from the Turf Lodge area was shot just a week after mobile phone footage was circulated of him among a group of young men during an altercation with residents of the area.

He is a relative of a man shot in similar circumstances in 2015.

The victim was shot three times in the leg and ankle shortly after 10.30pm in the Ardmonagh Parade area of Turf Lodge.

He was rushed to Royal Victoria Hospital where it is believed surgery was required to save his leg.

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie described the attack as "disturbing and appalling".

"It is no more than vile individuals using any excuse to terrorise, intimidate and coerce their own communities through threats of violence," he said.

"Without a doubt the PSNI have a major role to play in removing these individuals from our streets and I welcome the work of the paramilitary task force.

"But this is also terrorism in its most basic and direct form and the use of the Terrorism Act 2006 should be used to target these groups.

"It is also important that communities and society as a whole begin to face up to these thugs and any pre-arranged shootings, beatings, intimidation or coercive action by these thugs should immediately be reported to the PSNI and robust action taken."

PSNI Detective Inspector Harvey said: "This was a brutal and despicable attack, which has left the victim with potentially life-changing injuries.

"It is yet another example of how criminal groups seek to control communities through fear and violence.”

"I would appeal to anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area, to contact Detectives at Musgrave Criminal Investigation Branch on the non-emergency number 101."

The shooting came just days after a new breakaway paramilitary group, the Irish Republican Movement (IRM), threatened to carry out vigilante-type attacks.

It also occurred close to where graffiti in support of active dissident republican group Action Against Drugs - which has been responsible for several murders, including that of Raymond Johnston in February in front of his partner and her child in Poleglass - appeared on walls in and around west Belfast.

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