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.
Large crowd has gathered in Creggan #Derry tonight as a major security operation is being carried out in n Mulroy Gardens. Petrol bombs have been thrown at the end of the street pic.twitter.com/4bUkkAe0zq— Leona O'Neill (@LeonaONeill1) 18 April 2019
During the unrest a gunman fired a number of shots at police, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said.
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.
I was standing beside this young woman when she fell beside a police Land Rover tonight in Creggan #Derry. I called an ambulance for her but police put her in the back of their vehicle and rushed her to hospital where she died. Just 29 years old. Sick to my stomach tonight pic.twitter.com/F0GHHd3HPz— Leona O'Neill (@LeonaONeill1) 18 April 2019
"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."
ACC Mark Hamilton says ‘our thoughts are very much with the family & friends of Lyra McKee’. He says her murder ‘demonstrates all too starkly when terrorists bring violence & guns into the community members of the public are placed in severe danger’. pic.twitter.com/26TJZMkLGD— PSNI (@PoliceServiceNI) 19 April 2019