May 9, 2019 7:01 am
Updated: May 9, 2019 7:34 am

4 men arrested in connection to killing of Northern Ireland reporter Lyra McKee

ABOVE: 'New IRA' blamed for fatal shooting of journalist in Northern Ireland riot.


Four men have been arrested under terrorism legislation in connection with the slaying of journalist Lyra McKee, according to the Northern Ireland Police Service.

The men, aged 15, 18, 38 and 51, were arrested Thursday morning and have been taken in for questioning, police said.

READ MORE: ‘New IRA’ blamed for fatal shooting of journalist in Northern Ireland riot

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“As part of this morning’s operation, detectives carried out searches at four houses in the city and arrested four people in connection with the violence which was orchestrated on the streets of Creggan on the evening of Lyra McKee’s murder. They are currently in custody where they are being questioned,” detective superintendent Jason Murphy, said.

Mckee, 29, a rising star of investigative journalism, was shot and killed April 18 during a riot in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Police said it was probably by a stray bullet.

The killing was condemned by all the major political parties as well as the prime ministers of Britain and Ireland.

Officials said the dissident group, the New IRA, was most likely responsible and called it a terrorist act.

WATCH: Politicians from Ireland, U.K. attend journalist’s funeral

The New IRA is a small group who reject the 1998 Good Friday agreement that marked the Irish Republican Army’s embrace of a political solution to the long-running violence known as “The Troubles” that claimed more than 3,700 lives.

In a statement issued to the Irish News, the New IRA offered “full and sincere” apologies to McKee’s family and friends.

The group said she was killed during the unrest “while standing beside enemy forces” — a reference to the police.

READ MORE: Woman arrested over fatal shooting of Irish journalist Lyra McKee

Authorities believe more than one person was involved in the shooting and have already arrested two men and one woman under anti-terrorism legislation in connection to Mckee’s killing.

The fatal shooting, which followed a large car bomb in Londonderry in January that police also blamed on the New IRA, has raised fears that small marginalized militant groups are exploiting a political vacuum in the province and tensions caused by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

— With files from the Associated Press and Reuters

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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