Londonderry riots: Journalist Lyra McKee shot dead in 'terrorist incident'

A car burns after petrol bombs were thrown at police in Creggan Londonderry in Northern Ireland

DUP leader Arlene Foster said: "Our hearts are very heavy because of what happened in Londonderry last night".

"The senseless murder of Lyra McKee has left a family without a beloved daughter, a sister, an aunt, and a great aunt", Canning told a vigil gathering.

Our thoughts are with her partner, family and many friends and colleagues.

He said she was a "perfectly innocent" bystander with legitimate reason for being there but had not been "actively working" as a journalist on Thursday evening. People started to run for their lives, and Jake Hanrahan, a journalist who was at the scene, said Ms McKee was "caught in crossfire".

"People saw the gunman and people saw those who goaded young people out onto the streets, people know who they are".

During the unrest a gunman fired a number of shots at police, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said.

The BBC reports dissident republicans are being blamed for the killing.

Lyra McKee died on the cusp of Easter, a date held sacred in the mythology of the people who killed her.

McKee was seen as a rising star, named to Forbes "30 under 30" list of notable media figures in 2016.

"This was an act of hate", Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement in front of government buildings in Dublin.

"Despite the fact that we are 21 years past the Good Friday Agreement, 26 years into the terrorist ceasefires in Northern Ireland, dissident republicans, renegade republican groups still oppose the peace process and the threat level posed by them has never been deemed less than severe in Northern Ireland".

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The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) described McKee as "one of the most promising journalists" in Northern Ireland.

Police believe the New IRA were behind last night's shooting in Derry in which a journalist was killed.

He paid tribute to the family's dignity and accused dissidents of forcing their viewpoint on others using the barrel of a gun. Gunshots were fired towards police and McKee was struck, they said.

He asked: "Have you no sense of humanity or dignity about yourself?"

"The killing of a journalist in these circumstances is deeply shocking", Stanistreet said.

Sara Canning fought back tears as she concluded: "Lyra's death must not be in vain because her life was a shining light in everyone's else's life and her legacy will live on in the light that she has left behind".

"Twenty-one years ago today on Good Friday, we as a people, north and south, chose peace, democracy, powersharing and ever closer co-operation, and we will not be dragged into the past".

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who is visiting the region, joined in a minute of silence for McKee, calling the fact that it came on Good Friday "especially poignant".

She was an elder among the "ceasefire babies", the first generation to grow up in Northern Ireland when the Troubles were referred to in the past tense.

Another one said: "I can't believe it was you".

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