The paramilitary group blamed for the death of journalist Lyra McKee who was shot during rioting in Northern Ireland has reportedly admitted carrying out the attack.
The dissident republican group known as the New IRA offered “full and sincere apologies” to her partner, family and friends – according to the Irish Times.
The paper said the organisation provided a statement using a recognised codeword.
Police have said on Tuesday that a 57-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with McKee’s murder, under the Terrorism Act. Two teenagers previously arrested over the attack were released earlier without charge.
On Monday the journalist’s friends protested outside the offices of Saoradh, a republican party said to be associated with the New IRA. Some added handprints in red paint to the walls, to illustrate their claim that the party had blood on its hands. It had previously tried to explain the killing as accidental.
The 29-year-old was shot last Thursday night as she observed the rioting on an estate in Londonderry, also known as Derry. A masked gunman opened fire on police and onlookers standing close by.
The killing brought a torrent of condemnation, including from politicians across the spectrum. Police have praised the public’s response to the killing and have said they are looking at ways to protect potential witnesses.
The rioting happened after police entered the estate to look for weapons ahead of Easter weekend, which traditionally sees commemorations from republicans of the 1916 “Easter Rising” rebellion against British rule.
Several republican groups have opposed Northern Ireland’s peace process which culminated in the 1998 Good Friday agreement, ending decades of violent conflict.
McKee has been described as a “rising star” of investigative journalism. Her partner, Sara Canning, has said her funeral – to be held in Belfast on Wednesday – will be a “celebration of her life”.