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Lyra McKee: British and Irish leaders convene for funeral of the murdered Northern Irish journalist

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Lyra McKee: British and Irish leaders convene for funeral of the murdered Northern Irish journalist
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Brian Lawless/Pool via REUTERS
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British and Irish leaders joined family and friends on paying tribute to slain journalist Lyra McKee during her funeral service in Belfast on Wednesday.

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. Paramilitary group, the New IRA, which opposes Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord, apologised for killing the journalist.

McKee's family issued a statement ahead of the funeral describing the writer "as a smart, strong-minded woman who believed in justice, inclusivity and truth and did not wish ill on anyone."

"We would ask that Lyra's life and her personal philosophy are used as an example to us all as we face this tragedy together. Lyra's answer would have been simple, the only way to overcome hatred and intolerance is with love, understanding and kindness," they said.

Northern Irish leaders who are split between Irish nationalists aspiring to unite the region with Ireland and unionists who want it to remain British called for calm in a rare joint statement condemning the murder.

They joined British Prime Minister Theresa May, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Irish President Michael D. Higgins and the leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, at the funeral.

Police have said on Tuesday that a 57-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with McKee’s murder, under the Terrorism Act.