A lieutenant in the Kinahan cartel is suspected of being at the centre of a violent slash attack in north Dublin, in which one man was stabbed in the back of the head and another was lucky not to lose his thumb.
The savage incident led to a stand-off between members of two rival gangs in the Finglas area and the deployment of a large number of armed gardai as the situation threatened to spiral out of control.
Details of the shocking incident, which is believed to have happened in the Cardiffsbridge Road on Thursday evening, can only be disclosed now and there have been no arrests in the case.
The two Finglas men who were hospitalised after suffering "serious stab wounds" declined to make a complaint to investigating gardai.
However, detectives are working on the theory that the knife attack was part of a dispute between rival criminal factions in the area.
The duo, both aged in their 30s, were treated for non-life threatening injuries at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown after the attack.
One line of enquiry is that they were targeted in a revenge attack after a close older male relative of the cartel lieutenant was assaulted earlier in the week.
However, mystery surrounds the brutal melee and gardai do not have a full account of what happened because of non co-operation from potential witnesses.
"It was chaos around the Finglas area for a number of hours on Thursday night after this stabbing attack happened. There was a face-off for a while," a source told the Herald.
"Local gardai had to call in support from armed units and it really looked like it was going to kick off between these different crews, but the armed presence meant that things eventually calmed down.
"This was a very dangerous situation for a while. There were some major criminals strutting around and the fear was that they were armed."
The suspected attackers are the 25-year-old Kinahan drug kingpin and an older associate of the mobster, who is known to officers for firearms offences.
The targeted men are associates of a gang who have been running a "drugs superstore" in the Barry Close area of Finglas.
"There are still fears that all this could turn into a really nasty situation," the source added.
"There are reports that some of the individuals involved are looking for even more serious criminals from other parts of the city to get involved in this row."
The cartel criminal at the centre of the dispute, who has very close links to Daniel Kinahan's crime syndicate, has emerged as a major player in north Dublin's drug trafficking scene over the past 18 months.
Sources say that gardai believe he is making huge amounts of money from his control of a vast drugs operation, which includes dealing in cocaine, cannabis and heroin.
Gardai are aware of an incident last December in which the Kinahan-aligned dealer threw an object, believed to be a rock, at an SUV occupied by Finglas crime figure Wayne Bradley.
Sources say that the dealer's motivation was to show Bradley (38) "who was the boss of the area", even though Bradley is not suspected of involvement in the local drugs trade.
He is also suspected of shooting at a woman's car in Finglas.