FORENSIC tests are to be carried out on a handgun discovered in Derry to see if it was the weapon used to kill journalist Lyra McKee.
The weapon was part of a “significant” discovery, which included a bomb and ammunition, made during searches of a 38-acre site near the Ballymagroarty district of Derry city yesterday.
A similar weapon was used in Creggan on Thursday, April 18, with one bullet fatally striking Ms Mckee to the head as she stood beside a police landrover observing rioting.
The bomb, handgun and ammunition have been taken to the Forensic Science Laboratory at Seapark in Co Antrim where they will undergo extensive forensic tests for any DNA and fingerprints.
The firearm will undergo ballistic tests to see if it has been fired previously, particularly in relation to Ms McKee’s murder and other gun attacks in the city, including punishment shootings.
The search operation in Ballmagroarty started on Friday involving police and the British Army’s bomb disposal unit.
The clearance operation finished on Saturday with police saying a number of “dangerous items” had been recovered.
Local police commander Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said: “This operation was designed specifically to find items we believed were being stored in this area and which posed a serious and imminent risk to the community.
“They have thankfully now been removed and will be subject to rigorous forensic examination.
“The despicable criminals using this area for terrorist purposes are reckless and continually put our community at risk.
“Despite the constant threat posed by this dangerous minority, local police officers continue to provide a community-focused policing service to the people of Derry whilst simultaneously working to thwart their activities through operations like this one.
“Our chances of success are improved by support and information from the local community.