Northern Ireland police said that two men have been arrested over the killing of journalist Lyra McKee in the city of Londonderry, also known as Derry, on Thursday.
“Major Investigation Team detectives have arrested two men, aged 18 and 19 under the Terrorism Act, in connection with the murder of Lyra McKee in the Creggan area of Derry on Thursday, 18th April,” the police tweeted on Saturday morning.
“They have been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite,” it added.
The 29-year-old was shot dead during an evening riot while standing near a police van as a gunman opened fire.
The riot broke out after security forces raided the Creggan area in search of firearms before Easter weekend, when republicans opposed to the British presence in Northern Ireland commemorate the 1916 Easter uprising against British rule.
A crowd of about 100 people, including journalists, had gathered at the scene, where young people had been throwing petrol bombs at police and where they had set two vehicles on fire.
Major Investigation Team detectives have arrested two men, aged 18 and 19 under the Terrorism Act, in connection with the murder of Lyra McKee in the Creggan area of Derry on Thursday, 18th April.
They have been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.
— PSNI DC&S District (@PSNIDCSDistrict) April 20, 2019
The police opened an investigation into the killing and said dissident republicans calling themselves “the New IRA” were likely responsible.
The group rejects the 1998 Good Friday peace deal, which largely brought an end to decades of sectarian bloodshed.
Saoradh (or “Liberation” in the Irish Gaelic language), which is an unregistered party formed by Irish republicans seen as the political wing of the so-called “New IRA,” said in a statement that McKee was “killed accidentally” by a “Republican volunteer”.
‘An act of hate’
Leo Varadkar, the prime minister of the neighbouring Republic of Ireland, described the killing as “an act of hate”.
“We cannot allow those who want to propagate violence, fear and hate to drag us back to the past,” he said.
British counterpart Theresa May said the killing was “shocking and truly senseless”.
McKee has been remembered as a talented and accomplished investigative journalist, dedicated to documenting Northern Ireland’s recovery from 30 years of sectarian conflict, known as the Troubles.
The conflict erupted between largely Catholic republicans, who wanted to reunite Ireland as one country, and mostly Protestant unionists, who wanted Northern Ireland to remain British.
The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 largely put an end to that conflict, but paramilitary groups have continued to exist on both sides.