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Londonderry riots: Woman killed in 'terrorist incident' as shots fired in Northern Ireland

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 18/04/2019 Telegraph Reporters

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(Video by: Press Association)

A 29-year-old woman has been killed after shots were fired and petrol bombs thrown amid rioting in Londonderry on Thursday night, with police treating it as a "terrorist incident". 

Police appealed for calm after violence erupted during a major security operation in the Creggan area of the Northern Ireland city.  

Masked attackers appeared to throw petrol bombs, fireworks and other debris at police Land Rovers.

a blurry photo of a fire: A burning car in Creggan, Londonderry after petrol bombs were thrown at police © PA A burning car in Creggan, Londonderry after petrol bombs were thrown at police Assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton, from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said a murder inquiry had been launched after the death.

He 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 inquiry."

a group of people standing in front of a truck: Heavilly armed police guard a crime scene during unrest in the Creggan area of Londonderry Credit: PA © Provided by Telegraph Media Group Limited Heavilly armed police guard a crime scene during unrest in the Creggan area of Londonderry Credit: PA

Robin Swann, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, said news of the death was "devastating".

He tweeted: "A precious life lost, we can't go back to this nor can we allow others to drag us back."

Police had cordoned off the Fanad Drive area of Creggan as violence left a van and car burnt out in the middle of a road.

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: Petrol bombs are thrown at police in Creggan, Londonderry © PA Petrol bombs are thrown at police in Creggan, Londonderry

Mark H Durkan, SDLP MLA for Foyle, said he was "heartbroken and angry" by the killing, which is being blamed on dissident Republicans.

"Just leaving Creggan, heartbroken and angry at the senseless loss of a young life," he tweeted.

"Violence only creates victims, that's all it ever has done. The thoughts and prayers of our city are with the young woman's family and friends, may she rest in peace."

The police force earlier tweeted: "Police are appealing for calm after a number of shots have been fired and petrol bombs thrown in the Creggan area of Derry."

a person wearing a costume: Armed police at the scene of unrest in Creggan, Londonderry © PA Armed police at the scene of unrest in Creggan, Londonderry

The unrest comes ahead of the Easter weekend where republicans mark the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, a time when dissidents are traditionally active.

Arlene Foster, Democratic Unionist Party leader, called the killing "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," she said.

"No one wants to go back. My thoughts are also with the brave officers who stood in defence of their community."

Gary Middleton, a DUP former deputy mayor of Derry City Council and current Member of the Legislative Assembly, tweeted: "Disgraceful scenes of violence in the Creggan estate tonight.

"PSNI and members of the public being put in danger by unrepresentative thugs intent on destroying communities."

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