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ERU on streets as gardai braced for Freddie's revenge

GARDA swat teams are hunting two gangsters who broke the leg of 'Fat' Freddie Thompson's brother and stabbed his sister-in-law.

Armed officers were deployed in Crumlin, Drimnagh and Rialto overnight as a manhunt continued for two associates of crime boss 'King Ratt' -- Thompson's sworn rival.

The pair stabbed Catherine Thompson and broke the leg of her husband Richie Thompson (34), brother of gang boss Freddie Thompson, in a pub attack last Sunday night.

Tensions in the Crumlin-Drimagh area were high today as the decade-long gang feud -- which has claimed the lives of 16 men -- threatened to re-erupt.

The two suspects for the attack at the Karma Stone Bar, on Wexford Street, last Sunday, are a 24-year-old and another younger man who is closely associated with King Ratt.

A source told the Herald: "It would be in their interests to give themselves up. If Thompson's gang get to them before we do, it won't be pretty.

"We're doing all we can to keep a lid on things. But these crews will start drinking on Paddy's Day and God knows what's in store tomorrow night."

Patrols of heavily armed ERU (Emergency Response Uni ) officers were out in force in South Dublin estates early today.

The patrols came in the aftermath of a pub row initiated by associates of the King Ratt gang which left Freddie Thompson's brother and sister- in-law with serious injuries.



HEAVIES

Richie Thompson sustained a fractured leg after being given a kicking on the ground while his wife Catherine had her arm sliced with a bottle or glass in the pub row. The young woman -- who is not involved in crime -- was treated afterwards at St James' Hospital. They were in the Karma Stone in Wexford Street attending a function last Sunday, without any trouble taking place until a King Ratt gang associate turned up.

The man, a young and close associate of King Ratt, used his mobile phone to recruit a gang of "heavies" who then entered tand attacked the couple, and other members of the family.

The unprovoked attack on the extended family has created new tensions and prompted an immediate reaction from the gardai.

"The ERU were on the streets of Crumlin, Cork Street and Rialto early today with checkpoints to keep the two sides at bay. We have also have also planned searches of the haunts of the usual suspects but many recognise the danger and have moved off."

It is understood that the injured parties have yet to make statements to gardai, but officers will be approaching them.

"The extended family who were attacked know who their assailants were and we have a very good idea ourselves. Our main role now is to keep the peace while collecting evidence."

Gardai are trawling through CCTV footage from premises in the Wexford Street area and examining car registrations numbers seen in the vicinity on Sunday night.

cmallon@herald.ie