Ex UDA brigadier Andre Shoukri is back in business and already in the firing line
Shoukri has been blamed for fanning the flames on a simmering loyalist drug war and ordering the attempted murder of Dean Rice last week
Former UDA brigadier Andre Shoukri has a target on his back.
The Sunday World can reveal the one-time terror boss is back in business and his life is once again under threat.
Shoukri has been blamed for fanning the flames on a simmering loyalist drug war in north Belfast and ordering the attempted murder of Dean Rice last week.
Rice is a pal of people with links to Shoukri's rival gang known as the 'Kincaids', led by Laurence 'Duffer' Kincaid. There is no suggestion Rice is involved in any criminal activity.
Shoukri's alleged involvement in the shooting of the young man, who has suffered life-changing injuries after being shot in the back, could be deadly for the man who was formerly known as the 'Bookies Brigadier'.
Sources predict that it is only a matter of time before the Kincaids gang hit back, with Andre Shoukri being tipped to be the firm favourite to be targeted.
"Andre's hands are all over this and the Kincaids know it. He didn't have the balls to try and take one of them on, shoot one of them, but he was sending a message when he agreed to Dean Rice being shot.
"That would not have happened without Andre's knowledge or say so," said one loyalist source.
"Put it like this it was carried out by one of Andre's lot, that is certain.
"He was never going to have one of the Kincaids shot but they will go for him now. Andre is firmly in the Kincaids' sights. There are two outcomes here, one the Kincaids concede and agree they won't operate on Shoukri's turf or option two, it's war. Option two looks very, very likely.
"Shoukri wants that area for himself, its all about drugs and money and someone will lose their life over this.
"Andre Shoukri is a marked man," said one north Belfast loyalist source.
Shoukri has one potential card up his sleeve, he has the support of South East Antrim UDA - though according to sources on both sides, both gangs have the ability to kill.
"Shoukri has South East Antrim but to be fair the Kincaids have a few fair people behind them too. Both sides have the potential and then you have to take in the Shankill and East Belfast. You effectively have four different outfits ready to go head to head. Shoukri's lot and the Kincaids just kicked off first," said a senior UDA source.
"Someone will die because of this. There was always fears that Andre Shoukri would come back to north Belfast and now he is. It has taken a few years but he is back properly and he is making his presence felt more strongly as the months have went by.
"Andre as far as I have been told ordered the attack on that fellow Dean Rice.
"My fear is that some other young fellows will get caught in the crossfire, used as cannon fodder by the blokes who make all the money."
Shoukri returned to the loyalist Westland estate in Belfast a few years ago after being expelled from the UDA in 2008. Since then he has been building his "empire".
Shooting victim Dean Rice is a close friend of Alan McClean Jnr, who also had to flee Belfast in 2008 following a loyalist feud.
McClean, who is a close associate of the Kincaids, has also returned to the Westland estate.
Sources say tensions have been rising in the area for some time, with the small estate now home to a number of high-profile loyalists jockeying for prominence.
Other sources say this feud has been simmering as far back since Shoukri's close friend and former UDA leader John Boreland was gunned down as he walked to his flat in August 2016.
"This bad blood is not directly liked to Boreland's murder but it is part of it.
"This probably would have kicked off sooner if it hadn't of been for Covid - I suppose things are getting back to normal in one way though with this I'm not sure it's a good thing, there is definitely trouble ahead."
In relation to the attempted murder of Dean Rice, the PSNI said: "A suspect, described as slim and dressed all in dark clothing with a mask on and a hood drawn tight over his face, is believed to have fled the area on foot in the direction of Westland Road.
"Our inquiries into this incident are ongoing and we would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and saw anything, or who may have dash-cam or other footage, to contact police on 101 quoting reference 22 of 24/5/22."
Police have increased patrols in the area due to the tensions.
North Belfast DUP MLA Brian Kingston condemned the gun attack.
"It is appalling that a man has been shot in the back and has sustained serious injuries in an incident which the police are treating as attempted murder. I condemn this shooting without equivocation. My thoughts are with the victim and his family circle.
"Any incident in which guns are used on our streets is reckless and deeply upsetting for the entire local community. Those responsible must be brought to justice.
"I appeal to anyone who can assist the police investigation to bring forward any information that they may have."
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