A journalist was killed while covering rioting in the border town of Londonderry.
A 29-year-old journalist was killed during a shooting in Creggan, a northern district of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, during rioting on Thursday.
Northern Irish police are treating the death "as a terrorist incident" and have opened a murder investigation, Mark Hamilton, the Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Northern Irish Police, said on Twitter.
Police named the victim as Lyra McKee, a journalist who was based in Belfast.
In her last tweet, McKee published a picture of the scene, with smoke in the distance, with the words: "Derry tonight. Absolute madness.”
According to footage shared on Twitter by Belfast Telegraph reporter Leono O’Neill, police were targeted with Molotov cocktails and gunfire during an operation in the Londonderry area.
The violence occurred ahead of the Easter weekend, during which Irish Republicans celebrate the 1916 uprising against British rule, known as the Easter Rising.
ACC Mark Hamilton said: “Sadly I can confirm that following shots being fired tonight in Creggan, a 29 year old woman has been killed. We are treating this as a terrorist incident and we have launched a murder enquiry.”— PSNI DC&S District (@PSNIDCSDistrict) April 18, 2019
The violence was roundly condemned and raised fears of a return to violence, after decades of relative calm in the region.
"Absolutely no excuse for attacking [PSNI] colleagues in this manner," wrote the Northern Ireland Police Federation on Twitter.
Arlene Foster, the leader of the Unionist Democratic Party of Northern Ireland (DUP), quickly condemned the incident, referring to it as a "senseless act" and "heartbreaking news".
"Those who carried guns on our streets in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s were wrong," she wrote, referring to the "Troubles” conflict between the Irish Republican Army, unionist paramilitaries, and British forces .
The Irish nationalist Sinn Fein also condemned the killing "without reservation", describing the death of the young woman as an "attack on the whole community, on the peace process, and on the Good Friday agreement", signed in 1998 to end the Troubles.
The deal ensured that in Northern Ireland power is shared between Sinn Fein and the DUP.
Heartbreaking news. A senseless act. A family has been torn apart. Those who brought guns onto our streets in the 70s, 80s & 90s were wrong. It is equally wrong in 2019. No one wants to go back. My thoughts are also with the brave officers who stood in defence of their community. https://t.co/77JO3YSYOB— Arlene Foster (@DUPleader) April 19, 2019
Tension likely to increase in times of Brexit
Located on the border with the Republic of Ireland, Londonderry, also known as Derry, is infamous for the Bloody Sunday massacre of 1972. British soldiers opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, killing 14 people at the height of the Troubles, which killed some 3,500 people in three decades. In January, the explosion of a car bomb in Londonderry had already raised fears of a new outbreak of violence.
Tensions are growing over the fate of Northern Ireland’s border with the Republic of Ireland, which is an EU member, in light of Brexit.
As it exists, there are no border checks between British controlled territory and Irish controlled EU territory, but if Britain leaves the EU without a settlement, checks could be introduced, a move bitterly opposed by most living in the region.