Lyra McKee: New breed of terrorism is emerging, warns detective leading manhunt into journalist's death

Chiara Giordano
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Lyra McKee: New breed of terrorism is emerging, warns detective leading manhunt into journalist's death

Lyra McKee: New breed of terrorism is emerging, warns detective leading manhunt into journalist's death

A new breed of terrorist is coming through the ranks in Northern Ireland, the detective leading the manhunt for journalist Lyra McKee’s killers has said.

Police have arrested two teenagers who they suspect are members of the dissident republican New IRA and who they believe were involved in fatally shooting the 29-year-old in Londonderry on Thursday night.

The two men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested under the Terrorism Act in relation to the journalist’s death.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy warned there were terrorists lurking in the shadows.

He said: “What we are seeing is a new breed of terrorist coming through the ranks and that for me is a very worrying situation.”

A gunman aiming to kill police shot Ms McKee in the head after he fired indiscriminately during disturbances in the Creggan estate.

DS Murphy said: “There is a real sense after what happened to Lyra of a sea change and I want people to have confidence to come forward and help us.

“The individuals responsible for Lyra’s murder continue to hide in the shadows.”

The detective said they had offered no explanations for their actions to her family but police were working to bring about positive change for the community where she died.

“This will be Lyra’s legacy,” he said. “Lyra’s murder was not just an attack on Lyra, it was an attack on the fabric of this community.

“Lyra’s killers have succeeded in only one thing, and that is in uniting the entire community in condemnation.”

DS Murphy said his officers had identified “palpable” change in support of the police.

The officer appealed for anyone with information to contact detectives.

“This morning we arrested two young men aged 18 and 19,” he said.

“I believe both of those are members of the New IRA, I believe both were involved in the attack on Lyra.

“Clearly my consideration is whether those two individuals acted in isolation or in collusion with other individuals, and I am keen for the community to come forward and help me answer that question.”

He said there was still fear of reprisals from the shadowy figures for giving information.

“Individuals continue to exert influence over communities, not just in the Creggan but in other parts of the communities as well.

“This intimidation and fear creates a real concern for local residents to come and talk to us as police officers.”

He said helping police with their inquiries was still unfortunately a difficult thing for some to do, but he said officers would behave sensitively.

A gunman aiming to kill police shot the journalist in the head after he fired indiscriminately during disturbances in the Creggan estate.

Ms McKee was standing next to an armoured police vehicle when she was shot.

In video footage from the scene, filmed on a mobile phone, the suspected gunman can be seen firing twice into the crowd.

The clip, shared by a member of the public on social media, shows the shooter leaning around a barrier surrounding the Creggan Day Centre to aim towards police.

He fires two shots, three seconds apart, with what appears to be a handgun before screaming is heard.

Police officers at the scene took Ms McKee to hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

John Boyle, Derry’s mayor, said the killing was “not done in the name of the people of this city”.

Press Association contributed to this report