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Ex-Belfast leader of Continuity IRA faction killed; former comrades made death threat in 2011

A senior Irish Republican Army hard-liner has been shot to death in Belfast three years after former comrades in his splinter group threatened to kill them.

Nearby residents say gunmen escorted the victim, 43-year-old Tommy Crossan, to a fuel depot overlooked by houses and shot him in the head and body at close range.

No group claimed responsibility. Police and politicians blamed Crossan's former group, the Continuity IRA, of following through on 2011 death threats against him. The Continuity IRA accused him of keeping money from robberies and providing information on colleagues to British intelligence agents. Crossan denied this and refused to flee his native Catholic west Belfast.

The major IRA faction, the Provisionals, renounced violence in 2005 but other militant groups remain active. Their last killing was in October.