Northern Irish journalist Lyra McKeen. File photo/ Reuters
Dissident republican group the New IRA on Tuesday admitted responsibility for killing Northern Irish journalist Lyra McKeen during rioting in Londonderry last week, in a statement to The Irish News.
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 reported by the Irish newspaper, which said the paramilitary group used a recognised codeword.
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, also known as Derry.
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.
In the wake of her death, Northern Ireland's six main political parties — including rival unionists and republicans who have been unable to form a devolved government for more than two years — issued a rare joint statement.
“It was a pointless and futile act to destroy the progress made over the last 20 years, which has the overwhelming support of people everywhere,” it read.
The killing, the latest upsurge in violence to shake the troubled region, came in the run-up to Easter weekend, when republicans opposed to the British presence in Northern Ireland mark the anniversary of a 1916 uprising against British rule.
A car-bombing and the hijacking of two vans in Londonderry earlier this year were also blamed on a dissident paramilitary group.
The 1998 Good Friday peace deal largely brought an end to three decades of sectarian bloodshed between republican and unionist paramilitaries, as well as British armed forces, in a period known as “the Troubles.”
Some 3,500 people were killed in the conflict — many at the hands of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
The group called a final ceasefire in 1997 and announced an end to its armed campaign in 2005, stating that it would seek to achieve its aims through peaceful political means.
The New IRA is one of a number of dissident republican paramilitary groups opposed to the shift towards non-violent tactics to bring about a united Ireland.
There have been concerns that paramilitaries could be seeking to exploit the current political turbulence over Northern Ireland and its border with the Republic of Ireland caused by Brexit.
The Essex Police force says the dead found on Wednesday in the southeastern city of Grays included 31 men and eight women. The force says one victim previously thought to be a teenager was a young adult woman.
CRPF Constable Ajit Singh fired shot dead the three colleagues inside a camp in Battal Ballian area on Wednesday night after a heated exchange of words, a police officer said.
The blast occurred on Thursday at the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in the city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, and the fire was finally brought under control at 3.00am on Friday (1900 GMT), state television said.
Rain was witnessed in Jebel Ali in the Emirate of Dubai and on Al Madam in the Emirate of Sharjah. Dibba Al-Fujairah,Khorfakkan also experienced moderate rain.
Under the theme, ‘Drivers of Change’, the second edition of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS) will address the significance of legislation in accelerating women’s empowerment and gender equity in the private sector.
The 20th edition of the traditional event, Fazza Championship for Youlah, has kicked off at the Meydan Fort in Global Village.
Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, hosted on Saturday the last edition of Volunteer Emirates 2019, in support of Umm Al Qura School in Um Al Quwain. This edition, which was sponsored by DP World, witnessed a participation of 200 volunteers who helped in the renovation of the school to enrich the learning environment for1,200 students.