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Gardai probe gangland thug's associates over grudge hit

Gardai at the scene in Meath
Gardai at the scene in Meath

ASSOCIATES of gangland thug Aymen Shebani (34), are being investigated in the wake of the shocking shooting of an innocent man this week.

Gun victim Tony O’Connor narrowly escaped death despite being shot at least twice by a gunman outside his home in a County Meath estate.

The Dubliner, who has no involvement in crime, is believed to have been singled out over his friendship with a woman.

A gunman opened fire after O’Connor arrived home in Stamullen, hitting him as he sat in his Volvo car.

Despite being hit in the chest and arm, the innocent 36-year-old victim was conscious and able to speak to paramedics at the scene.

Yesterday, he remained in hospital where his condition was described as non-life threatening.

The motive behind the shooting is a personal grudge, according to sources, and Gardaí are investigating if criminal associates of Coolock thug Aymen Shebani are involved.

 

Shebani is thought to have gone to Libya to escape Garda attention as a result of his connections to the gang boss known as ‘Mr Big’ on Dublin’s northside.

Of Libyan descent, he has lived in Coolock, Co. Dublin, as well as Northern Ireland. 

Shebani (above) has been a top target for Gardaí and the Police Service of Northern Ireland for years, according to Sunday World sources. 

He is thought to have been based between Co. Donegal and Co. Down for several years, while making regular trips to his criminal associates in Dublin. 

In September, 2011, he was jailed in Derry for six months for failing to declare a stash of almost €70,000 found in a case and wardrobe.

As part of the same operation, PSNI officers recovered a stolen Garda uniform. 

He was also previously charged with the attempted murder of his former associate Simon O’Connor (36). However, that charge was later dropped by the legal team working on behalf of the PSNI. 

Gardaí are treating this week’s gun attack as an attempted murder as it emerged that Mr O’Connor had previously been the target of gangland intimidation when his car was burned out.

The shooter, who was wearing a balaclava and overalls, fled the scene in a Seat Leon car fitted with bogus 151-DL plates. 

Following Thursday’s shooting, Gardaí found the partially burned car containing a handgun, as well as an item of clothing.

Both are being examined for any potential forensic clues to the shooter’s identity.

Speaking to reporters this week after Thursday’s shooting, Garda Superintendent Jim Cannon said that at least two people were involved in the attack.

He appealed for anyone who may have seen the vehicle used by the attackers to contact the gardaí, who are also investigating if the victim had been followed to his home.

Garda Superintendent Cannon said: “Stamullen is a very quiet area, the victim is not known to Gardaí and this is what we would describe as a despicable act, where there were children present at the scene and there were other people present and this man is obviously an innocent victim.”