Two men arrested in connection with murder of Lyra McKee

The men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested by PSNI detectives this morning.

Two men arrested in connection with murder of Lyra McKee

Two men have been arrested in connection with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry.

The men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested by PSNI detectives this morning.

They were arrested under the Terrorism Act and have been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.

Ms McKee, a 29-year-old published author from Belfast, was shot in the head during riots in the Creggan Estate on Thursday night.

Police said yesterday they believe the attack was carried out by dissident republicans linked to the New IRA.

CCTV released by the PSNI captured her final moments at around 10pm, when she stood among a crowd of other innocent bystanders and raised her phone in the air, apparently to photograph the violence.

Shaky mobile phone footage also released by detectives showed a masked gunman lean from behind cover and appear to fire shots towards police and onlookers.

Police, who described the shooting as a “terrorist incident”, believe the violence was orchestrated in response to an earlier search by officers aimed at averting imminent trouble associated with this week’s anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Around 50 petrol bombs were thrown in the confrontation and two cars were burned out.

Catholic priest Father Joseph Gormley, who read the last rites for Lyra McKee, said: “It was heartbreaking to see a young woman, 29 years of age, lying in Altnagelvin hospital. It was just so sad.”

“This rioting was clearly orchestrated. I have no problems saying that, everybody in our community knows that,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

We have a small group of people who want to play political games with our lives and want to use our community as a place where they can play their little war games.

Fr Gormley continued: “People in our community have tried to have conversations with these people and I have been involved to some degree with those conversations myself.

“They have not listened and now our community are finally saying ‘enough is enough, please get off our backs’.”

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, who leads the inquiry, described the murder as "senseless and appalling beyond belief".

An outpouring of tributes to Ms Kee was led by her partner, Sara Canning, who said her "amazing potential was snuffed out by this single barbaric act".

Ms Canning said: "Victims and LGBTQIA community are left without a tireless advocate and activist and it has left me without the love of my life, the woman I was planning to grow old with.

"This cannot stand, Lyra's death must not be in vain because her life was a shining light in everyone else's life and her legacy will live on and the life that she has left behind."

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the murder of Lyra McKee was "a reminder of how fragile peace still is in Northern Ireland", adding: "We must all work to preserve the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement."

A vigil will be held today in Omagh in CoTyrone which has been organised by the Omagh Trade Union Council and the Northwest Branch of the National Union Of Journalists.

A minute's silence will be held before a separate rally in Belfast over citizen's rights after Brexit.

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