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Man shot in legs in 'brutal, callous and horrific' west Belfast attack

'I would not want to speculate on exactly why this individual was targeted but there is never any justification for this violent anti-community behaviour'

Police have described the shooting of a man in west Belfast as "brutal, callous and horrific".

The attack happened on the Monagh Road in Turf Lodge at around 10pm on Tuesday.

The man, aged in his 20s, was taken to hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds.

His condition is described as stable.

The incident comes just a week after a couple were shot in the nearby Norglen Parade. They had refused to hand over their son to the gunmen.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

Speaking at Musgrave Police Station on Wednesday afternoon Belfast Policing Commander Chief Superintendent Chris Noble said: "Police were informed by the ambulance service just after 10pm that a 26 year old male had been shot twice, once in each leg on Monagh Road in west Belfast.  Police attended quickly afterwards and carried out immediate enquiries at the scene in an attempt to secure evidence.  We have since engaged with the victim in hospital who thankfully is in a stable condition.

"I want to condemn what has happened in the strongest terms. It is very early to speculate in terms of the people involved, but at the very least they are criminals.  It is also too early to say if the number of recent shootings in west Belfast are linked but clearly there is an active line of inquiry around the involvement of violent dissident republicans.  I would not want to speculate on exactly why this individual was targeted but there is never any justification for this violent anti-community behaviour.

"The people responsible are doing this for their own selfish and egotistical ends.  They are trying to exercise control in the community and trying to pretend they are a police service, which they are not.  The only police service in west Belfast is the Police Service of Northern Ireland. 

"Working with the community we have seen nearly one thousand less crimes less crimes this year than there was last year, we have seen a significant reduction in burglary, robbery and crimes against older persons.  In the last 10 years because of police and community joint working we have seen more than a 40% reduction in car crime.

"I want to reassure the people of west Belfast that we will continue to patrol the area and we have had increased patrols across west Belfast in recent days and this will continue for the foreseeable future. The PSNI is the only legitimate policing service in Northern Ireland and will enforce the law however to bring those responsible for rime before the courts, we need evidence and not rumour to enable us to see successful prosecutions.

"Those small groups of individuals who continue to try and terrorise people and commit criminal acts must not be allowed to operate freely in our communities. We would ask that every community minded member of society works with us, to give us the information we need to put these people out of business and make Northern Ireland a safer place.

"I would ask anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area of Monagh Road, in particular after 10pm yesterday evening, to come forward to police by calling 101 and asking for detectives at Musgrave or you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

"You can of course also pass this information to a member of the clergy or a local elected community representative. The only way to effectively tackle this criminal and predatory behaviour is for policing to work with the local community."

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