Group claims Black murder
A group of militant nationalists has reportedly said it shot dead prison officer David Black in Armagh as he drove to work earlier this month, and linked the attack to a dispute over prison conditions.
Belfast-based newspaper The Irish News said it had received a statement today claiming responsibility for the shooting from a coalition of dissident groups formed earlier this year which is calling itself the IRA.
The group says it is the successor of the Provisional IRA, which disbanded after the 1998 Belfast Agreement.
The murder of Mr Black, who worked at Maghaberry Jail, was the first killing of a prison officer in Northern Ireland in almost 20 years and the fifth fatal attack on a member of the security establishment since 1998.
"An active service unit of the IRA executed prison guard David Black," the statement said.
"While the IRA never takes this type of action lightly, the IRA has a responsibility to protect and defend Republican POWs."
The statement said the killing was a direct response to what it said was the "degradation" of Republican prisoners at Maghaberry, where militant nationalists have been protesting against their living conditions and strip-searches.
Four men have been arrested by police in connection with the murder, but all have been released without charge.