Dissident republican group the New IRA probably responsible for shooting of journalist in Derry - PSNI
Dissident republican group the New IRA was probably responsible for shooting dead a journalist in Northern Ireland, police have said.
Lyra McKee, 29, was shot in the head in what police are treating as a "terrorist incident", amid disturbances in Derry on Thursday evening, and died later in hospital.
Police Service of Northern Ireland officers were carrying out a search operation in the Creggan area of Derry aimed at disrupting dissident republicans ahead of this weekend's commemoration of Irish independence, when a situation developed during which more than 50 petrol bombs were thrown at officers and two cars were hijacked and set on fire.
During the unrest a gunman fired a number of shots at police, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said.
He said: "Lyra McKee, 29 years old, was wounded. She was taken away in a police Land Rover to Altnagelvin Hospital but unfortunately she has died there.
"We have now launched a murder inquiry here in the city.
"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.
"This is a horrendous act, it is unnecessary, it is uncalled for, it is totally unjustified."
It is understood Ms McKee had recently moved to Derry to live with her partner.
She worked as an editor for California-based news site Mediagazer, a trade publication covering the media industry.
In 2016, Forbes Magazine named her one of their 30 under 30 in media. She had been working on a new book which had been due to be published in 2020.
Mr Hamilton offered his "deepest sympathies" to Ms McKee's family.
And he said: "But not only is it a murder of a young woman, it is an attack again on the people of this city.
"I stood here in January and we talked about the bomb and the act of violence against this city, and yet again we see another act of violence in this city which has had horrendous consequences and which will affect people for many, many years.
"I would appeal to people, particularly this Easter weekend, to stay calm, I would appeal to people who are intent on violence to draw back, I would appeal to people with influence to use your influence and make sure this is peaceful weekend. Not only this weekend but going forward in this city.
"These acts of violence are bringing nothing to this city, all they are doing is bringing misery to one family, but also particularly to this city and also to our broader province."
The New IRA, an amalgamation of dissident republican factions in Derry, has been blamed for a bombing in Bishop Street, Derry, in January.