Separatist Irish group claims deadly attack that killed journalist
A separatist group seeking disintegration of Northern Ireland from Britain has claimed responsibility for an attack in the region on Thursday that killed a young journalist.
The New IRA, an offspring of the Irish Republican Army, acknowledged in a late Monday statement that its members had been involved in clashes in the Northern Irish city of Londonderry which killed Lyra McKee, according to a report in the Irish News published on Tuesday.
The group said it was an accident that a gunshot fired during the clashes led to McKee’s death, while offering its “full and sincere apologies” to her partner, family and friends.
“We have instructed our volunteers to take the utmost care in future when engaging with the enemy, and put in place measures to help ensure this,” said the group.
The clashes between nationalist youths and police in Londonderry began after police launched a raid in the area to arrest suspected separatists. It came after a series of incidents in the city this year, including a car bombing in January, which has sparked real concerns in Britain about a return of violence on the island of Ireland more than 20 years after the IRA accepted to disarm based on a historic peace deal.
The growing tensions come amid Britain’s ongoing struggle to leave the European Union, a decision many believe could restore border controls between Northern Ireland and Ireland and revive decades of hostilities in the region.
The statement by the New IRA came hours before the British police said they had arrested a 57-year-old woman in connection with McKee’s death. Police had earlier released two young men, aged 18 and 19, who had been arrested over the murder.