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Police: Woman killed in Northern Ireland 'terrorist incident'

By
Darryl Coote

April 18 (UPI) -- Northern Ireland police said Thursday that a woman was killed during what it described as a "terrorist incident" as shots rang out and gas bombs exploded in the city of Londonderry.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton of the Derry City and Strabane police department confirmed via Twitter that a 29-year-old woman was killed and that a murder investigation had been launched.

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"Sadly, I can confirm that following shots being fired tonight in Creggan, a 29-year-old woman has been killed," he said, referring to the Creggan neighborhood in Londonberry. "We are treating this as a terrorist incident and we have launched a murder enquiry."

Police appealed for the public to remain calm during the night's chaos as masked assailants threw gas bombs and fireworks from a Land Rover, the Telegraph reported.

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At least two vehicles were set on fire during the incident that is believed to have begun as a result of a house search by police in Creggan, the Belfast Telegraph reported.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster condemned the attack, calling it "a senseless act."

"A family has been torn apart," she said in a tweet, referencing the woman who died. "Those who brought guns onto our streets in the '70s, '80s and '90s were wrong. It is equally wrong in 2019. No one wants to go back."

The attack comes days before the Easter weekend, during which republicans mark the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising when they fought against British rule. Traditionally, it is a time when government critics act up, the Guardian reported.

Michelle O'Neil, leader of the Sinn Fein political party, called the woman's death an attack on the community of Londonderry.

"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," she said, referring to the 1998 pact that brought an end to violence in Northern Ireland between separatist Republicans and British-supporting Loyalists.

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She said those responsible should "disband immediately and end their pointless actions against the community, which tonight has tragically claimed the life of a young woman."

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