Man seriously injured in kneecapping by gang who burst into Belfast house

A man has been kneecapped by men who burst into a house in west Belfast, police said.

The 24-year-old was shot in both knees and both ankles in a back yard after "a number of males in dark clothing" broke into the house and hit him with a hammer on Friday evening.

He has been left with potentially life-changing injuries after the assault in the Whiterock Drive area of the city, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.

Detective Inspector Michael McDonnell said: "Police received a report at around 7.10pm that a number of males in dark clothing had entered a house and struck a man over the head with a hammer before shooting him in both knees and both ankles in a rear yard.

"The victim was taken to hospital for treatment to his injuries, which are serious and potentially life-changing.

"Two females, a 17-year-old and a 21-year-old, who were in the property at the time and who witnessed this horrific attack, were left extremely shaken.

"This was a brutal and callous attack in a residential area where other residents or passers-by could have been injured. It is yet another example of how criminal groups seek to control communities through fear and violence."

Anyone with information is urged to call Musgrave Criminal Investigation Branch on 101 quoting reference 1189 of January 19, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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