Dissident republicans blamed after journalist shot dead in Londonderry

Dissident republican group the New IRA was probably responsible for shooting dead a journalist in Northern Ireland, police have said.

Lyra McKee, 29, was shot in the head in what police are treating as a "terrorist incident", amid disturbances in Londonderry on Thursday evening, and died later in hospital.

Police Service of Northern Ireland officers were carrying out a search operation in the Creggan area of Derry aimed at disrupting dissident republicans ahead of this weekend's commemoration of Irish independence, when a situation developed during which more than 50 petrol bombs were thrown at officers and two cars were hijacked and set on fire.

During the unrest a gunman fired a number of shots at police, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said.

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Armed police at the scene of unrest in Creggan, Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Heavilly armed police guard a crime scene during unrest in the Creggan area of Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDONDERRY, NORTHERN IRELAND - APRIL 19: Police attend the scene of a shooting in which a journalist was killed, on Fanad Drive on April 19, 2019 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Journalist and Author Lyra McKee was killed in a 'terror incident' while reporting from the scene of rioting in Derry's Creggan neighbourhood after police raided properties in the Mulroy Park and Galliagh area on the night of Thursday 18th April 2019. Reports say that she was killed as shots were fired from a single gun. Lyra McKee was well known for covering the lasting trauma and the violence of the Northern Ireland Troubles. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDONDERRY, NORTHERN IRELAND - APRIL 19: Police attend the scene of a shooting in which a journalist was killed, on Fanad Drive on April 19, 2019 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Journalist and Author Lyra McKee was killed in a 'terror incident' while reporting from the scene of rioting in Derry's Creggan neighbourhood after police raided properties in the Mulroy Park and Galliagh area on the night of Thursday 18th April 2019. Reports say that she was killed as shots were fired from a single gun. Lyra McKee was well known for covering the lasting trauma and the violence of the Northern Ireland Troubles. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDONDERRY, NORTHERN IRELAND - APRIL 19: Police attend the scene of a shooting in which a journalist was killed, on Fanad Drive on April 19, 2019 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Journalist and Author Lyra McKee was killed in a 'terror incident' while reporting from the scene of rioting in Derry's Creggan neighbourhood after police raided properties in the Mulroy Park and Galliagh area on the night of Thursday 18th April 2019. Reports say that she was killed as shots were fired from a single gun. Lyra McKee was well known for covering the lasting trauma and the violence of the Northern Ireland Troubles. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDONDERRY, NORTHERN IRELAND - APRIL 19: Police attend the scene of a shooting in which a journalist was killed, on Fanad Drive on April 19, 2019 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Journalist and Author Lyra McKee was killed in a 'terror incident' while reporting from the scene of rioting in Derry's Creggan neighbourhood after police raided properties in the Mulroy Park and Galliagh area on the night of Thursday 18th April 2019. Reports say that she was killed as shots were fired from a single gun. Lyra McKee was well known for covering the lasting trauma and the violence of the Northern Ireland Troubles. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Corbis via Getty Images)
Police conduct a crime scene search after shots where fired in Creggan, Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Petrol bombs are thrown at police in Creggan, Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
The scene of unrest in Creggan, Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Petrol bombs are thrown at police in Creggan, Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Petrol bombs are thrown at police in Creggan, Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
A hijacked car explodes after being set on fire in Creggan, Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
A PSNI officer conducts a search after shots where reportedly fired in Creggan, Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Hijacked vehicles on fire in Creggan, Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
hijacked vehicles one fire in Creggan, Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Armed police in Creggan, Londonderry after shots were fired and petrol bombs were thrown at police. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
A burning car in Creggan, Londonderry after petrol bombs were thrown at police. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Armed police in Creggan, Londonderry after shots were fired and petrol bombs were thrown at police. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Armed police in Creggan, Londonderry after shots were fired and petrol bombs were thrown at police. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Armed police in Creggan, Londonderry after shots were fired and petrol bombs were thrown at police. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Petrol bombs are thrown at police in Creggan, Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
A burning car in Creggan, Londonderry after petrol bombs were thrown at police. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Petrol bombs are thrown at police in Creggan, Londonderry. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
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He said: "Lyra McKee, 29 years old, was wounded. She was taken away in a police Land Rover to Altnagelvin Hospital but unfortunately she has died there.

"We have now launched a murder inquiry here in the city.

"We believe this to be a terrorist act, we believe it has been carried out by violent dissident republicans, our assessment at this time is that the New IRA are most likely to be the ones behind this and that forms our primary line of inquiry.

"This is a horrendous act, it is unnecessary, it is uncalled for, it is totally unjustified."

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