A YOUNG man escaped with his life when an assassin's handgun jammed as it was pointed at his head.
Two gunmen burst into a house in Tallaght, Dublin at around 8am yesterday.
Sources revealed that the target, 21-year-old Noel O' Reilly (inset), was still in bed at the house in Suncroft Park. His partner and two children were also there at the time of the terrifying attack.
The assassins ran upstairs but were confronted by O'Reilly and a scuffle took place at the top of the stairs.
The criminals then pushed the intended victim into a bedroom and put a handgun to his head.
However, when they attempted to fire the weapon, it jammed and the gunmen fled from the house.
The two gunmen escaped the scene in a car.
The Herald has learned that detectives are working on the theory that the botched assassination may be linked to "a local dispute in the Tallaght area".
Mr O'Reilly was not seriously injured in the incident and has not made a statement to investigating officers.
Sources say that he is known to officers for involvement in minor crime and is not considered a major criminal.
"He is a very, very lucky boy to be alive that is for sure," a senior source explained.
"Gardai have still not established a definite motive for this attack which is being treated as attempted murder.
"The two individuals involved in this were very reckless especially when you consider that children were also in the house at the time," the source added.
"Mr O'Reilly will now get security advice from gardai."
Yesterday afternoon Mr O'Reilly was back at the house where he was nearly murdered, but declined to comment to the Herald on the events.
A muddy footprint could be seen on the PVC door, between the letterbox and the door handle, where it had been kicked in.
And fingerprint dust could also be seen on the door where members of the garda technical bureau had worked to gain forensic evidence that might help identify the attackers.
In a completely separate incident last month, Thomas Power (32) and his partner Leanne Daly escaped death after a gunman opened fire outside their home in Tullamore, Co Offaly, on Sunday, December 8.
Mr Power grappled with the would-be assassin and only survived when the weapon jammed. They were targeted as they took their seven-year-old son out of their car.
Mr Power suffered minor gunshot injuries to his back while his partner was blasted in the shoulder.
And last January, Ballyfermot man Luke Wilson (19) survived when the gun his former pal Patrick McCann jammed after McCann had already shot him in the face in Liffey Gaels GAA club, Memorial Park, Inchicore.
McCann is now serving a 17-year sentence for the crime.