Detectives are investigating if a teenager was targeted in a reckless pipe bomb attack after being blamed for switching sides in the deadly Drogheda feud.
The Irish Independent has learned that a 17-year-old was the prime target when a viable explosive was planted on a gas line outside his home in the Moneymore estate in the Co Louth town on Tuesday night.
Several homes were evacuated and the Army's bomb squad was called out when the device was discovered shortly after 8pm.
An examination of the explosive established it was a pipe-bomb attached to a petrol canister. It was defused by Defence Force technicians before being removed from the scene.
Gardaí believe that if the device had detonated it would have led to considerable damage and loss of life.
They are now investigating whether a teenage criminal was targeted by his former associates in the Maguire faction after "jumping ship" to a rival faction.
Feud murder victim Keane Mulready-Woods (17), who was abducted and dismembered in January, had also associated with both sides of the feud before his killing.
The target of Tuesday night's attack is also being investigated for a separate petrol bombing on an innocent woman and her three young children earlier this month.
One source told the Irish Independent: "The information gardaí have is that he has jumped ship and is working for the anti-Maguire faction.
"This is now being looked at as a primary line of inquiry in that he was targeted by his former associates with the Maguire gang," a source said.
"This was intended to do as much damage as possible, and if that gas line had ignited, it would have not only destroyed the intended target's house but also many more homes on the road, and we would have been looking at fatalities here."
No injuries were reported and gardaí in Drogheda are investigating the incident, the latest serious incident linked to the feud.
Inquiries are also ongoing into the petrol bombing of a house in the Laurences Park area of the town on September 14.
A completely innocent family, including a mother (30) and her three children all aged under 10, were forced to escape out of a first-floor window with the help of neighbours after a petrol bomb was thrown at the house.
Following this attack, sources said gardaí were bracing for further violence.