Shankill bomber Sean Kelly has been released from Maghaberry prison.
Shankill bomber Sean Kelly has been released
The BBC has been told he has been freed on what is called temporary release pending an application to the Sentence Review Commission.
Kelly was one of two men who left a bomb in a Shankill Road fish shop in 1993. Nine civilians died, as did Kelly's IRA accomplice.
Freed in 2000, he was returned to jail in June when Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain suspended his licence.
The application to the commission, which rules on alleged breaches of a prisoner's licence, will be forwarded on Thursday morning.
BBC Northern Ireland security editor Brian Rowan said the move is likely to be seen as paving the way for an expected IRA statement on its future on Thursday.
"Republicans have been demanding that Kelly should be freed now he has been let out of Maghaberry jail in what has been termed as temporary release," he said.
He received a total of nine life sentences but was freed early from prison in July 2000 under the Good Friday Agreement.
His early release licence was suspended by Mr Hain after security information indicated Kelly had become "re-involved in terrorism".