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PSNI make fresh appeal after two teenagers arrested over killing of Lyra McKee in Derry

The 29 year-old was killed in the city on Thursday.

Updated Apr 20th 2019, 4:38 PM

lyra mckee photo Lyra McKee

THE POLICE SERVICE of Northern Ireland have made a fresh appeal for information following the arrest of two teenagers in connection with the killing of journalist Lyra McKee.

The 29-year-old journalist died after shots were fired in the Fanad Drive area of Creggan in the city during rioting on Thursday night. 

The PSNI has since launched a murder inquiry, and have arrested two men aged 18 and 19 under the Terrorism Act.

They have been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning.

Police have described the shooting as a “terrorist incident”, and believe the rioting was connected to a search of properties in the Creggan area by officers.

Speaking this afternoon, Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, who is leading the investigation, said that he believes that the people responsible for McKee’s murder are members of the new IRA.

“I’ve just come from a very difficult meeting with Lyra McKee’s family and her partner and, as you can imagine, they are absolutely devastated,” Murphy told reporters this afternoon. 

“Lyra’s family have a lot of questions, and I answered as many for them as I can at this stage,  but I need more help from the community to answer all their questions and to bring those who killed Lyra to justice.”

“Shortly before 11pm on Thursday night, 29-year-old Lyra was murdered by terrorists. I believe that the people responsible are members of the new IRA.”

Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses who were in the area that could assist them in identifying the gunman, and have issued CCTV footage of the moments leading up to the shooting.

Londonderry unrest Rioting in the Creggan area of Derry on Thursday night Source: Niall Carson/PA Images

Murphy has specifically asked that people who were in the area and who may have information come forward and to hand over mobile phone footage they may have to police. 

“We do not need to hold on to your phone, we have necessary equipment that will allow us to download the footage quickly,” Murphy said. “Alternatively, you can use the Major Incident Public Portal at www.MIPP.police.uk to upload footage or to tell us what they know.”

“We have already received unprecedented support from the local community and I would like to thank them for helping us to seek justice for Lyra’s family.”

McKee was at the scene of rioting, with reporters present saying police came under gun fire and a petrol bomb attack.

The PSNI said yesterday that dissident republicans were storing weapons and explosives for a number of planned attacks, possibly to have taken place over Easter weekend in the city.

They say that after searches began, a crowd gathered and that around 50 petrol bombs were thrown at officers. Two vehicles were also hijacked and set on fire.

A single gunman is believed to have fired shots and fatally wounded the deceased.

The killing was condemned across Ireland yesterday, with the leaders of the six main parties in Northern Ireland releasing a rare joint statement hitting out at the murder.

A number of vigils took place across the island of Ireland in memory of McKee yesterday, with more events expected to take place later today.

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