Armed unionist paramilitaries who were intent on murder raked the home of a Catholic family with gunfire on Tuesday morning.
A group styling itself the “Real UDA” claimed responsibility in a call to a Belfast newsroom yesterday afternoon.
It is understood that six men, some of whom were masked, had entered the house in the early hours.
The armed gang had been looking for a young man.
When they did not find their intended victim, the gang left the house but fired three shots at it.
They also smashed a door and window of a car parked outside before making off in a dark coloured salon car.
The mother of the family - who did not wish to be identified - said it had been a “terrifying attack by thugs”.
It is understood that the family have been targeted before and forced to leave their home in Ballymena.
Sinn Féin North Antrim representative Philip McGuigan said it had been a terrifying experience for the Catholic family, who had been asleep at the time.
“If he (the young man) had been there they would have shot him dead,” he said.
“It was a terrifying experience for the family.”
Meanwhile, the so-called “Real UDA” also issued a death threat against Mr McGuigan yesterday.
The Sinn Féin man’s life has been threatened on several occasions and a parcel bomb was posted to his home last year.