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Poice on alert over Belfast feud fears after shooting is blamed on dissidents

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Police at the Joy King Chinese takeaway on the Oldpark Road where a man was shot on Friday night

Police at the Joy King Chinese takeaway on the Oldpark Road where a man was shot on Friday night

Police at the Joy King Chinese takeaway on the Oldpark Road where a man was shot on Friday night

Police remain on high alert in north Belfast amid concerns of further violence among dissident republicans after a man was shot in the head.

Father-of-four Harry McMahon (52), shot at a Chinese takeaway in Oldpark on Friday, remained in a critical condition in hospital last night.

The shooting has been linked locally to a feud between dissident republicans in the north of the city over drugs and other criminal enterprises.

It is understood that in recent months Mr McMahon feared there could be an attempt on his life and had contacted the Housing Executive to request a move to another property.

Tensions between feuding dissident republicans in the area have been brewing for several months and police are concerned that Friday night's murder bid could lead to reprisal attacks.

Officers are also having to deal with a rise in dissident republican paramilitary attacks in the area.

Just two hours after Mr McMahon was attacked, a man in his 30s was shot in both legs in an unrelated 'punishment' attack in the nearby New Lodge area.

"Tensions are high in the area and officers are keeping a close eye on certain individuals as we are concerned about further violence. We are doing all we can to prevent that and reassure the public," one officer warned.

"You have to remember that we are policing in an area where certain groups are intent on killing officers, so it is a challenge."

Mr McMahon was at the Joy King Chinese restaurant on the Oldpark Road when he was approached by a lone gunman who shot him at close range at around 5.35pm.

Sinn Fein Assembly Member Gerry Kelly said that Mr McMahon had received a warning from police that dissidents "were looking at him in terms of an attack".

"The difficulty is that these micro-groups, these so-called dissidents, have been fighting amongst each other and it's got to the point where guns have been brought out," Mr Kelly added.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds said the attack was "deeply disturbing".

He added: "Murderous attacks such as this are the last thing we want to see happening on the streets of north Belfast."

So far nobody has been arrested in connection with the attack.

The gunman is believed to have made off in a blue Vauxhall Astra Estate, vehicle registration number ANZ 5590. The car was found burnt out in Torrens Gardens a few minutes later.

Police want to hear from anyone who was in the Oldpark area on Friday evening and witnessed the shooting.

Belfast Telegraph