In a statement sent to the Irish News, an armed radical calling themselves “the New Irish Republican Army” took responsibility for the murder of a 29-year-old journalist, Lyra McKee, in Londonderry on 18 April.

The New IRA, a splinter group of the Provisional IRA that fought a bloody low-level insurgent war against British police and military forces for nearly 40 years before disbanding in 2005, offered “full and sincere apologies” to McKee’s family and friends, explaining that her killing was the result of her being collateral damage while she stood near the terrorist group’s intended target.

In protest, friends of McKee later defaced an office that belonged to a dissident Irish Republican group by putting red handprints on the walls of its headquarters in Northern Ireland’s second-largest city of Londonderry.

Two teenagers were placed under arrest in Northern Ireland in connection with the shooting. The two suspects, aged 18 and 19, were arrested under a terrorism law in Londonderry and taken to Belfast for questioning. The two teenagers were later released, but a 57-year-old woman was also arrested under the Terrorism Act.

McKee was covering Republican riots in Londonderry when she was shot. Her death came of the 21st anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that ended a sectarian conflict that killed thousands.

The New IRA has also accepted responsibility for parcel bombs sent to Glasgow and London in March in protest the possibility of a no-deal Brexit that would see the re-establishment of a hard border between EU member Ireland and the North, which will remain a constituent part of the UK.