A five-man New IRA hit team stalked Dublin's north inner city looking to murder two leading gangsters after one of their associates was shot dead in the bitter gangland feud.
Sources said the dissident republican murder squad from the North spent several days and nights prowling the streets.
One of the men the would-be assassins were hunting is a volatile member of the New INLA crime faction and is now missing.
He had fled the country and is the chief suspect for the murder of Gareth Hutch (35), whose funeral took place last Friday.
He is also a suspect for the murder of Hutch's uncle, Eddie Hutch Snr (59), who was shot dead at his north inner city home on February 8 in a revenge attack for the Regency Hotel bloodbath.
The older Hutch was shot up to nine times after gunmen broke in through his front door.
The brother of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, he was seen as a soft target as he was never involved in major crime and had no central involvement in any of the feuding.
The New INLA thug is now wanted for questioning in relation to three of the seven feud murders to date. He previously served a lengthy sentence for explosives offences and in recent months was part of a gang involved in extortion, criminal debt collection and drug-dealing. The outfit are also involved in a number of legitimate businesses.
It is only in the past fortnight that their links to the Kinahan cartel have become clear.
The missing hitman is understood to have fled to the UK in the aftermath of Gareth Hutch's murder - the seventh in the ongoing feud - on the morning of May 24.
The Herald revealed yesterday that family members and associates of the missing man fear he has been murdered himself. Gardai have no intelligence that he is dead, and it is understood that officers believe he is hiding out in Scotland.
That view is not shared by those who are close to him.