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Gang feud fears after attack on girl (15)

A VICIOUS new feud has kicked off in north Dublin after a 15-year-old girl was savagely attacked by a group of women as a gang of male thugs held her mother back.

Sources say that tensions in the Coolock area of north Dublin are on a "knife edge" after the incident, which has sparked mass brawls and armed intervention by gardai.

Yesterday morning, detectives responded to two major incidents. The first brawl broke out outside a post office at Northside Shopping Centre at around 10am; minutes later, two gangs of Travellers started fighting in a nearby industrial estate.

The cause of the mayhem was the attack on the 15-year-old girl on Saturday night, which led to family members demanding that two bare-knuckle fist fights be held to defend her honour.

This challenge led to angry scenes on Sunday afternoon in the Belcamp Lane area of Coolock, when up to 100 members of the rival factions turned up in a heated confrontation.

"There were men going around with shotguns - firing the weapons into the air," a source said. "At least 10 shots were fired before one man approached another lad and stabbed him in the backside. There was blood everywhere.

"It was only at this stage that the gardai were called. While all this was going on, there were at least 20 children running around. Kids younger than 12 goading the other faction."

Senior sources say that when armed gardai arrived at the scene in Belcamp Lane, they were forced to produce their weapons to disperse the mob.

Gardai arrested five suspects yesterday in relation to the disturbance.