Journalist shot dead in ‘terrorist incident’ in Northern Ireland

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Lyra McKee was shot dead as she covered riots in Londonderry

Lyra McKee, 29, was killed in riots Thursday night, according to police.

A 29-year-old female journalist was killed during riots in Derry, Northern Ireland, on Thursday night in what police are treating as a “terrorist incident.”

According to reports, violence broke out following police searches in Derry’s Creggan district, with petrol bombs thrown at police Land Rovers.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland on Friday identified the victim as journalist Lyra McKee, an editor at Mediagazer based in Belfast who covered the lasting effects of decades of violence in Northern Ireland. McKee was considered a “rising star of investigative journalism,” according to an announcement of her book deal with publisher Faber, and was named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in media in Europe in 2016.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: “This murder demonstrates all too starkly that when terrorists bring violence and guns into the community, members of the public are placed in severe danger. It is abundantly clear that they do not care who they harm.

“This is a horrendous act, it is unnecessary, it is uncalled for, it’s totally unjustified.

Police are treating the killing as a “terrorist incident” and have launched a murder inquiry, according to assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton. The Police Service of Northern Ireland said it believes the attack was carried out by “violent dissident republicans” and confirmed the primary line of inquiry involves the New IRA, which it said “is most likely to be behind this.”

Local journalist Leona O’Neill, who was at the scene in Derry (also known as Londonderry), wrote on Twitter that McKee fell beside a police car and was rushed to hospital, where she died.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O’Neill said she was “shocked and saddened at the tragic news,” calling the killing a “senseless loss of life.”

“The murder of this young woman is a human tragedy for her family, but it is also an attack on all the people of this community, an attack on our peace process and an attack on the Good Friday Agreement,” said O’Neill. “I unreservedly condemn those responsible for killing this young woman.”

Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, tweeted: “Heartbreaking news. A senseless act. A family has been torn apart.”

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