A 15-year-old boy sustained serious head fractures in what was believed to be a sectarian attack at an east Belfast interface.
Jordan Else sustained two fractures to his skull and cuts and bruises to his face after he was set on at an east Belfast interface.
The attack happened at around 6pm on Monday evening, with police also coming under attack on the same night.
A police officer was hurt and one man arrested for disorder. Some of those involved in the trouble were said to be carrying golf clubs. It was the second successive night of violence on the streets in the east of the city.
Jordan was found motionless near the Albertbridge Road by a passing couple who called the emergency services.
He is currently being treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital where his condition was yesterday described as stable.
Speaking from his bedside, Jordan’s father told the Belfast Telegraph the family was devastated at the injuries the teenager sustained.
“He has two fractures to his skull, eight staples to the back of his skull. His whole face is bashed to the front,” his father said.
“The ones who were with him said he was hit in the back of the head with the blunt end of a hatchet and kicked in the head.
“There was a fella and a girl came along and actually thought he was dead. He threw him over his shoulder and the girl was sick because there was no movement from him.”
Police took to Twitter to deny a hatchet had been used in the attack.
Fireworks and petrol bombs were also thrown at police throughout the evening.
One officer suffered an injury to his arm and one man was arrested over disorder in the Paxton Street area.
Stones, bottles and other missiles were thrown in both directions across the fences at the interface causing some damage to homes on both sides, police said.
One car was also hit with a paint bomb.
The attack came 24 hours after a police sergeant was injured while trying to contain a 60-strong mob which pelted the police with missiles at the east Belfast interface at Castlereagh Street.
Ulster Unionist MLA for the area, Michael Copeland, blamed the teenager's attack on the recent outbreak of disorder.
"We are in a spiral of violence and if it's not resolved, sooner or later someone will die or be seriously injured," he warned.
The attack occurred after the youngster - who is believed to be visiting the area from England because of a recent family bereavement - went with several friends to a fast food outlet near the Newtownards Road/Albertbridge Road junction, which is close to the Castlereagh Street interface.
The teenager, who was born and raised in east Belfast, was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital yesterday evening. He is believed to have sustained several fractures but his condition was described as "stable".
Meanwhile, it has been claimed that the deployment of regular neighbourhood police officers to face down a 60-strong mob was flawed after fierce violence erupted in the area of Sunday night.
Police confirmed the officers sent to deal with the crowd that had gathered at the interface were not wearing equipment designed to protect them during public disorder.
Riot squad police were called as back-up but had to travel from outside the city. A neighbourhood sergeant was injured after being struck by masonry during the disturbances.
Officers were pelted with bricks, bottles and other missiles as trouble flared on loyalist Castlereagh Street, close to the interface with Short Strand.
A member of the Policing Board last night questioned the decision to deploy neighbourhood police.
"It has been a bad call, whoever made the decision," SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said.
"Maybe they thought with the neighbourhood teams there may be a good relationship with the young people, but there was a riot.
"It sounds as if the judgment was flawed."
The disorder broke out just after 7pm on Sunday. Police said patrols in the area would be stepped up in the coming nights.
PSNI Chief Inspector David Moore, area commander for east Belfast, said: "Neighbourhood officers were tasked to the report of youths gathering as they were the closest police resource.
"The area was being policed by local NPT (neighbourhood policing team) officers as is the norm, and indeed this is welcomed by local residents. Neighbourhood officers were not wearing public order equipment as they had responded to a report of youths gathering as opposed to youths engaging in disorder.
"TSG (Tactical Support Group) officers were tasked to assist, but they had to travel from another location.
"This behaviour is totally unacceptable and a police investigation has begun to identify youths involved."
Since April there have been around 60 arrests for interface-related disorder in east Belfast; incidents which have included street brawls involving young people which have been pre-arranged on social networking sites.
Chair of the Police Federation, Terry Spence, said loyalist paramilitary involvement in the trouble could not be ruled out.
"We all know that in east Belfast in the past a lot of this violence has been orchestrated by the UVF so there are a number of things going on in the background," he said. "While it hasn't been proven at this stage there is UVF involvement, historically there have been indications that was the case."
"It's not particularly sectarian. During holiday time many of these young people meet up through social media and then arrive in east Belfast and move around as a crowd. A lot of work has been done by police and community groups but it has proved extremely difficult. It's a recurring problem."
PUP councillor John Kyle