UVF SHOOT DOUBLE-AGENT
A man named in the Dublin parliament earlier this year as a PSNI
Special Branch agent linked to a series of murders was shot near North
Mark Haddock, who held a leading position in the unionist paramilitary
UVF, suffered multiple injuries and was taken to the Royal Victoria
Hospital in Belfast for emergency treatment.
Haddock's former associates in the UVF are the chief suspects in the
murder bid. He had been out on bail pending trial on the attempted
murder in December 2002 of nightclub doorman Trevor Gowdy, who was
attacked with an iron bar and a hatchet.
Haddock has also been linked to the murder in 1997 of Raymond McCord
Jnr -- whose killing is currently the focus of an investigation by
Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan.
Mr McCord, 22, was beaten to death and his body left at a quarry. His
father has led a campaign for an inquiry into the murder and the role
Special Branch handlers played in the killing, which is thought to have
helped to protect the identity of an informer.
The apparent UVF murder bid could put pressure on the Ulster Unionist
Party and its leader Reg Empey, recently excoriated for including UVF
representative David Ervine in the UUP group at the shadow Assembly.
UDA FEUD FEARS
Meanwhile, a power struggle between unionist paramilitary gang leaders
in north and south Belfast is in danger of erupting into violence.
A highly public bust-up could spill over into violence after an
ultimatum was issued ordering so-called 'brigadier' Ihab Shoukri to
resign his position by noon today.
Shoukri was made north Belfast UDA leader in the absence of his older
brother Andre who is currently awaiting trial on charges of blackmail,
intimidation and money laundering following his arrest last November.
Ihab Shoukri is currently out on bail after being charged with UDA
It is being reported that south Belfast UDA leader Jackie McDonald is
behind the move to oust the two.
It is understood an ultimatum has been issued of the UDA membership in
the north of the city, insisting the Shoukri brothers and a third gang
leader -- a one-time close associate of Johnny Adair -- be removed
from their leadership positions.
The decision whether or not to expel the brothers is seen as the
biggest crisis to hit the UDA since the feud involving Shankill leader
Johnny Adair and his associate John White.
Nationalists, particularly in north Belfast, are concerned that
another full-blown UDA feud could lead to an increase in sectarian
attacks by that organisation.
The position is expected to become clear later this week.