Northern Ireland

Woman, 24, injured in 'barbaric' gun attack

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Media captionA neighbour said people initially thought the shots were the sound of fireworks.

A 24-year-old woman is in a stable condition in hospital after being shot several times.

The attack happened at Lord Street Mews, in east Belfast, at about 22:40 BST on Wednesday.

The woman was shot in the lower abdomen, hips and knees. The police said she was the third woman to have been shot since 1990.

Police have said they are treating the incident as attempted murder.

A neighbour said people in the area were shocked by the shooting, and initially thought the shots were the sound of fireworks.

"When I came out I heard the screaming. She was shouting 'help me, help me'.

"Everybody had started gathering. It's really scary, just scared the life out of me. Everybody is just really shocked, couldn't believe it actually," she told BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show.

East Belfast MP Naomi Long condemned the shooting as "utterly appalling and barbaric" and urged anyone with information to give it to the police.

Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers also condemned the attack.

Police have appealed for witnesses.

Two other gun attacks on women took place on 2 March 1991 and 21 September 1992, according to police statistics.