IRA splinter group apologizes for journalist's death in Northern Ireland

IRA splinter group apologizes for journalist's death in Northern Ireland
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A splinter group of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) said it shot and killed journalist Lyra McKee by accident in Northern Ireland last week, The Irish News reported Tuesday.

"In the course of attacking the enemy Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces," the group, which calls itself the New IRA, said in a statement to the publication. "The IRA offer our full and sincere apologies to the partner, family and friends of Lyra McKee for her death."

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The group, established in 2012, accused police of "provoking" the rioting that preceded McKee’s death.

"On Thursday night, following an incursion on the Creggan by heavily armed British crown forces which provoked rioting, the IRA deployed our volunteers to engage," the group said.

Colum Eastwood, leader of the Irish nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party, reportedly called for the New IRA to disband.

"They must recognize the glaringly obvious fact they are not wanted by the people of the north. It is time to disband," he said, according to The Irish News. "The murder of Lyra McKee must not be in vain. Together, political leaders must come together to re-engage in a talks process to fill the vacuum that currently gives groups like this too much oxygen."

Police in Northern Ireland initially arrested two men, aged 18 and 19, in connection with McKee’s death but released them without charges. Authorities suspected McKee’s death, which occurred while she was covering a riot in Derry last week, was connected to the New IRA, which rejects the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.