Image: Iraqi crowds
AP
Crowds stand around and watch as others throw stones and Molotov cocktails at a British tank as it arrived on the scene where a British military helicopter crashed in Basra, Iraq, on Saturday in this image from TV.
updated 5/6/2006 8:26:43 PM ET 2006-05-07T00:26:43

A British military helicopter crashed in the southern city of Basra on Saturday, and a crowd of Iraqis cheered and threw stones at British forces who raced to the scene to seal off the area.

Police Capt. Mushtaq Khazim said the helicopter crashed into a two-story house in a residential area of the city, apparently after being hit by a missile or a rocket. He said the four-member crew had died but that no Iraqis were hurt on the ground.

The British military confirmed the crash, and said that casualties had resulted, but it provided no other details.

As British forces and armored vehicles arrived at the scene, some people in the crowd threw stones, jumped up and down and raised their fists. The chaotic scene was widely shown on state-run al-Iraqiya TV.

“We can confirm that there has been a helicopter crash in Basra,” said Scott Green, spokesman at the British military center in Basra. He said no other information was available, including the type of aircraft, the number of crew members aboard or the cause of the crash.

In London, Britain’s defense ministry issued a brief statement confirming the helicopter crash and saying it had caused casualties. But the ministry would provide no other details, including whether the casualties were British or Iraqi.

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