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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 09:25 GMT
Attack on PSNI officers condemned
The helicopter crashed into a field near a built-up area
Police guarding the crash site were attacked
Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy has said he believes a "sinister element" was behind an attack on police officers in south Armagh on Monday night.

Police guarding the site in Crossmaglen where a military helicopter crashed on Sunday, were attacked with up to 30 petrol bombs as well as other missiles.

Police said local representatives had helped calm the situation, but a group of youths later resumed the attacks.

Mr Murphy said information about the attacks should be passed to the police.

He said Sinn Fein representatives in the area had talked to parents after the initial attacks and were able to get them stopped.

However, he said some youths returned at about midnight and resumed the violence.

He said those who did so "perhaps had more of an agenda to work out there".

The Newry and Armagh MP said he would speak with people in the area on Tuesday.

"If I think that there is any information from the people who caused damage to the community last night it should be passed on to to the police, because those people who came later on and attacked only succeeded in harming their own community," he said.

Two police vehicles were damaged in the trouble but there were no reports of injuries.

On Sunday, an ambulance taking one of six casualties from the crash was forced to stop because of hostile crowds, the Ambulance Service said.

A group of youths ambushed the vehicle in Crossmaglen as it drove towards the Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.

A total of six people were injured, two airmen and four police officers, in the helicopter crash. A number of them suffered serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.

Stones, fireworks and snowballs were hurled at the ambulance crew as they attempted to treat the injured.

Crash examined

"They stopped the vehicle for about a minute and shone torches into it," the Ambulance Service's director of operations, Brian McNeill, said.

"We are only trying to do our job and it is difficult enough going to a major incident like that without having to deal with unruly crowds, and it is unacceptable."

It was confirmed four of the injured were taken to the Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry and two to the Craigavon Area Hospital - one by helicopter.

A total of three police officers were later discharged, but one policeman was still being treated for a back injury.

The craft crashed into a field close to Lismore housing estate and the grounds of the Crossmaglen Rangers Gaelic Athletic Association club.

Rotors were crushed and the tail had snapped off.

Up to seven ambulances and several fire tenders rushed to the scene at about 1800 GMT on Sunday.

A military investigation will now be carried out to find out why the accident happened.




SEE ALSO
Army to examine helicopter crash
19 Mar 07 |  Northern Ireland



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