A man found murdered in a north Belfast park had been shot dead by dissident republicans, it has been claimed.
Father-of-four Kevin Kearney disappeared after leaving home to take his dogs for a walk. His body was discovered in a neighbouring lake.
Police confirmed they had launched a murder investigation, but were still waiting for the results of a post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death.
But a dissident republican organisation, opposed to the peace process in Northern Ireland, claimed in a statement to the Belfast-based Irish News newspaper that they shot the man.
It is the same group, calling itself the IRA, which ambushed a prison officer, David Black, when they opened fire on his car as he drove to work on the MI motorway between Dungannon, Co Tyrone, and Belfast in November last year.
Mr Kearney lived in a nearby housing estate. He left home on Tuesday and his body was recovered from the lake in the adjoining Alexander Park, just off the Antrim Road, yesterday afternoon after his partner raised the alarm. He was in his 40s.
Prime Minister David Cameron is due in the city tomorrow to attend a major investment conference. Business chiefs from various parts of the world, including China and Japan, have already arrived.
Politicians on all sides condemned the murder. MP for North Belfast Nigel Dodds said he was appalled.
North Belfast Assembly member Gerry Kelly condemned those responsible.
"The murder of Kevin Kearney is to be condemned outright," said the Sinn Fein representative.
"The pseudo 'republican' group that carried out the killing have no support whatsoever with the local community."
He added: "The people of North Belfast have suffered enough throughout the years without the blight of these maverick, self-serving, hypocritical groups bringing death to the community."