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New IRA apologizes for journalist's death

By
Darryl Coote
Lyra McKee, 29, was killed April 18 when she was struck by a bullet during rioting in Northern Ireland. Photo courtesy of Police Services of Northern Ireland
Lyra McKee, 29, was killed April 18 when she was struck by a bullet during rioting in Northern Ireland. Photo courtesy of Police Services of Northern Ireland

April 23 (UPI) -- A paramilitary group claimed responsibility for the shooting death of a journalist during rioting in Northern Ireland.

In a statement to the Irish Times on Monday, the new IRA said, "In the course of attacking the enemy, Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces."

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McKee, 29, was standing near a police vehicle during rioting April 18 in the town of Londonderry, also referred to as Derry, when she was struck by a bullet shot by a member of the Irish nationalist group at the police.

"The IRA offer our full and sincere apologies to the partner, family and friends of Lyra McKee for her death," the group said in the statement.

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Rioting broke out last week following a police search of homes belonging to republican dissidents in the town's Creggan neighborhood. Police believed the residents to have been storing weapons with intent to use them during the Easter holiday, a day known for dissident activity in the country.

The group said in the statement it blamed police of "provoking" the riot that led to McKee's death.

"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," it said while calling on Saoradh, an organization with connections to the New IRA, to also apologize.

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The New IRA was founded in 2012 and rejects British rule over Northern Ireland.

The apology comes as the Police Service for Northern Ireland said via Twitter it had arrested a 57-year-old woman under the Terrorism Act in connection to McKee's death.

Police had earlier arrested two teenagers linked to McKee's death under the same act but were released Monday without charge.

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