Three men have been assaulted by suspected loyalist paramilitaries armed with a sledgehammer and hammers in an "unprovoked and cowardly attack" in Londonderry.
Police received reports shortly before 1.40am that a number of men were seen walking along Bonds Street in the Waterside area of the city armed with what was described as a sledgehammer and hammers.
Paramedics from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) responded minutes later and found three men, two in their 30s and one in his 40s, with injuries as a result of what appears to have been a violent attrack.
All three men were taken to hospital by the NIAS where they were treated for their injuries, which are not believed to be life threatening at this time.
Detective Sergeant Ray Phelan said: "We believe the three men were the victims of an unprovoked and cowardly attack by four assailants armed with weapons.
"Police are exploring a potential link to loyalist paramilitaries as part of our enquires.
"We are working to establish how the men sustained their injuries, who was responsible, what the circumstances were leading up to the incident and we are making a number of appeals.
"Were you in the Bonds Street or Lower Glendermott Road area between 1am and 1:40am this morning? Did you see any suspicious activity? Did you see a number of men walking along Bonds Street armed with hammers?
"We are keen to hear from anyone who was socialising in licensed premises on the Dungiven Road last night, and who witnessed any type of altercation. "
Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives at Strand Road on the non emergency number 101, quoting reference number 154 of 13/05/18.