By Agence France-Presse
Dissident republican group the New IRA on Tuesday admitted responsibility for killing Northern Irish journalist Lyra McKee last week as police said they had arrested a 57-year-old woman in connection with the shooting.
The New IRA “offer our full and sincere apologies to the partner, family and friends of Lyra McKee for her death,” it said in a statement to The Irish News.
The newspaper said the paramilitary group used a recognised codeword — an established method of communication during the decades of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland known as “The Troubles”.
McKee, 29, was shot in the head late Thursday as dissident republicans clashed with police in the Creggan housing estate in Northern Ireland’s second city Londonderry, also known as Derry.
Police in Northern Ireland said on Tuesday that a 57-year-old woman had been arrested under the Terrorism Act in connection with the killing.
Two men aged 18 and 19 who were also arrested earlier in the investigation have been released without charge.
Tributes to McKee, who was also a writer, were led by her partner, Sara Canning, who said her “amazing potential was snuffed out by this single barbaric act”.
While admitting responsibility, the New IRA attempted to justify its actions by claiming she was killed during an attack on “enemy forces” and accused police of provoking the riot which preceded her death.
“In the course of attacking the enemy Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces,” the statement said.
“On Thursday night, following an incursion on the Creggan by heavily armed British crown forces which provoked rioting, the IRA deployed our volunteers to engage,” the New IRA statement said, according to The Irish News.