10 April 2006

UDA divided over possible expulsion of Shoukri brothers


10/04/2006 - 12:06:39

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe leadership of the Ulster Defence Association is believed to be planning a meeting later today to decide whether to expel two prominent members from the organisation.

The UDA's inner council is believed to be split over whether to kick out Ihab and Andre Shoukri, two half-Egyptian brothers from Belfast.

Andre Shoukri, who is believed to be one of the loyalist group's so-called brigadiers, is currently facing charges of extortion, blackmail and money-laundering in relation to UDA activity.

During a bail hearing last month, a crown lawyer said the 28-year-old had spent more than £750,000 (€1,080,638) in one bookmakers' alone.

Ihab, meanwhile, is facing trial on charges of UDA membership.

At least four of the UDA's brigades are understood to be ready to support the brothers' expulsion, but others remain loyal to the Shoukris, prompting fears that today's meeting could cause a feud between the rival sides.

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