Journalist shot dead in Northern Ireland ‘terrorist incident’

Northern Ireland Police said the New IRA was likely behind the killing which took place during a night of unrest in Derry

Lyra McKee was shot in a night of unrest in Derry, Northern Ireland
Lyra McKee was shot in a night of unrest in Derry, Northern Ireland

A 29-year-old woman has died of gunshot wounds she sustained during a night of arrest in Derry, Northern Ireland, in what the police are treating as a “terrorist incident”.

Lyra McKee was covering riots which broke out in response to a house search that a large number of police officers conducted in the area, reported the Guardian, which said that the unrest came ahead of Easter weekend, which marks the anniversary of the 1969 Easter Rising, and a time when dissidents are traditionally active.

Images from the scene showed a number of vehicles alight and others burnt out.

The website quoted assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton, from the Police Services of Northern Ireland, saying that a murder inquiry had been launched.

“Unfortunately, at 11pm last night, a gunman appeared and fired a number of shots towards police and a young woman, Lyra Mckee, 29 years old, was wounded,” he said.

He said Mckee was taken to hospital but died upon her arrival. “We believe this to be a terrorist act, we believe it has been carried out by violent dissident republicans, our assessment at this time is that the New IRA are most likely to be the ones behind this and that forms our primary line of inquiry.”

McKee had written for The Atlantic magazine and Buzzfeed News and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2016 as one of their "30 under 30" oustanding figures in media, according to her literary agent Janklow & Nesbit.

The killing was condemned by Sinn Féin deputy leader, Michelle O’Neill, who said she was shocked and saddened at the “senseless loss of life” at the hands of “so-called dissidents”.

Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Union Party, which is in favour of Britain's presence in Northern Ireland, described the death as "heartbreaking news".

"A senseless act. A family has been torn apart. Those who brought guns onto our streets in the 70s, 80s & 90s were wrong. It is equally wrong in 2019. No one wants to go back," she wrote on Twitter.

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