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New IRA apologizes for killing journalist McKee, but she was standing “beside enemy forces”

Tuesday, April 23rd 2019 - 06:25 UTC
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“In the course of attacking the enemy Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces” admitted the New Ira. “In the course of attacking the enemy Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces” admitted the New Ira.

The New IRA has admitted responsibility for the killing of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee, according to an Irish newspaper. In a statement given to The Irish News using a recognized code word, the group offered “full and sincere apologies” to her family and friends.

Ms. McKee was shot in the head while she observed rioting in Londonderry's Creggan estate on Thursday night. The New IRA said she was killed “while standing beside enemy forces”.

In a statement to The Irish News admitting responsibility for the killing, the dissident republican group said: “In the course of attacking the enemy Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces.

The groups offered its ”full and sincere apologies to the partner, family and friends of Lyra McKee for her death“. The group also accused police of ”provoking“ the rioting that preceded the gun attack that killed Ms McKee.

”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. It added that it had ”instructed our volunteers to take the utmost care in future when engaging the enemy, and put in place measures to help ensure this“.

The statement comes after the hard-left republican political party Saoradh - which has the support of the New IRA - had previously sought to justify the use of violence on Thursday.

Ms. McKee was standing near a police 4x4 vehicle when she was shot after a masked gunman fired towards police and onlookers.

A protest by friends of Ms. McKee took place on Monday outside an office in Derry used by dissident republican political groups. A number of women smeared red paint in hand prints on republican slogans outside the office.

Police were present but did not make any immediate arrests and said the public response to the killing had been ”massive”.

It is understood that police and the Public Prosecution Service have discussed what measures could be available to protect witnesses fearful of giving evidence at trial.

The New IRA is the biggest of the dissident republican groups operating in Northern Ireland.

It is believed to have been formed between 2011 and 2012 following the merger of a number of smaller groups, including the Real IRA, which itself was born out of a split in the mainstream Provisional IRA (PIRA) in October 1997 over Sinn Fein's embrace of the peace process.

The New IRA has been linked with four murders. Ms McKee's killing came 21 years after the Good Friday peace agreement was signed in Northern Ireland.

Categories: Politics, International.

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