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Man stabbed in Belfast clashes ahead of 12th parades

A man has been stabbed during fighting between republican and loyalist factions in Northern Ireland ahead of the annual 'Twelfth of July' commemorations.

The victim, 28, was treated in hospital for injuries which are not believed to be life-threatening, police said.

11th night bonfires are seen across Belfast, as clashes break out. Credit: PA

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) spokesman said: "At approximately 3.10am, police received a report that a man had been stabbed and that rival factions were fighting in the area [...] Police attended the area and the two groups were separated at approximately 3.30am."

The violence happened at the Ormeau bridge, an arterial link which separates predominantly nationalist and unionist residential areas.

Read: Northern Ireland set for Glorious 12th parades

Peaceful parades in Belfast as 'selfies' urged

Orange Order marches through northern Belfast have thus far gone by peacefully, UTV's Marc Mallet reports.

Orangemen and women have been urged to post "selfies" on the biggest day of the Protestant marching calendar.

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Protests expected during 'Glorious 12th' marches

Orangemen will walk through Belfast to celebrate the Battle of the Boyne, in which Protestant troops triumphed over the Catholics in 1690. Credit: PA

Police and Orangemen have expressed hopes violence will be averted in Northern Ireland today as protests are expected against a restriction on the "Glorious 12th" marches in Belfast.

The annual parade marks the Battle of the Boyne, the Protestant victory over Catholic troops in 1690.

But up to 50 protests are planned this evening in anger at the Parades Commission decision to prevent Orange lodge members walking along a section of the Crumlin Road next to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood.

Grand Lodge of Ireland Grand Secretary Drew Nelson said every effort had been made to deliver a peaceful day.

"I would have a message for young protestants or any protestant or unionist who feels strongly about what's happening now - if you lift a stone or a bottle on the Twelfth day you are falling into a republican trap," he said.

Crossan shot 'several times' as he sat in Belfast office

Police have confirmed dissident republican Tommy Crossan was shot several times while he sat in an office yesterday.

The 43-year-old father-of-six, who was a former senior member of the Continuity IRA (CIRA).

Crossan, who also had five grandchildren, was gunned down at a fuel depot in the grounds of an industrial complex in full view of surrounding houses yesterday afternoon.

Police also wanted information about a red BMW, registration OEZ 9177, which is believed to be linked to the murder. It was found burned out a short time later in the Beechmount Grove area of Belfast, he said.

McGuinness: 'Dialogue not destruction is the way forward'

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness condemned the fatal shooting of Tommy Crossan, saying:

The people behind this killing are criminals and will further no cause through this shooting. Whoever carried out this act has nothing to offer the community and have no role to play in our future.

Dialogue not destruction is the way forward and while there may be a small minority of people who are trying to promote division and heighten tensions, let's be very clear, they will fail.The peace process is rock solid and all right thinking people across the community oppose and reject the actions of the people behind this murder.

Robinson: 'Minority will not drag NI back to the dark days'

After the death of hardline republican Tommy Crossan, First Minister Peter Robinson said:

The small minority of people who want to continue terrorising the community need to understand that they will not be allowed to drag Northern Ireland back to the dark days of the past. They must be hunted down and brought to justice.

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Sinn Fein member condemns 'senseless' shooting

Sinn Fein Stormont Assembly Member Jennifer McCann has said that those behind the killing of former Continuity IRA figure Tommy Crossan had no consideration for anyone in the community except themselves and their own criminal agenda.

She said: "They have shot a man dead and endangered anyone in the immediate vicinity. There is now a family in mourning and a community traumatised by this shooting.

Sinn Fein Stormont Assembly Member Jennifer McCann Credit: PA

Crossan, 43, was shot dead at a fuel depot in the grounds of an industrial complex in full view of surrounding houses.

Ms McCann added: "It will not go unnoticed that, with sadness, at Easter time as republicans gather to commemorate their patriot dead, that there are criminals on the streets masquerading as republicans for their own ends.

"This community does not want them. They need to listen to this community, stop these senseless actions and go away."

Police launch murder probe after ex-republican death

Detectives have launched a murder investigation and have combed the scene for forensics clues, after ex-Continuity IRA (CIRA) figure Tommy Crossan was shot dead in Belfast yesterday afternoon.

Suspects in killing of republican hardliner 'dinosaurs'

Dissident republican suspects in the killing of one of their former commanders in Belfast are "dinosaurs trapped in the past", the city's Lord Mayor said.

Ex-Continuity IRA (CIRA) figure Tommy Crossan, 43, was shot dead at a fuel depot in the grounds of an industrial complex in full view of surrounding houses. Three gunmen may have carried out the killing and a red BMW car was found on fire nearby.

Belfast Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir Credit: PA

First citizen Mairtin O Muilleoir of Sinn Fein said the killers existed in the dark margins of society but could not slow the pace of change in Belfast. He claimed: "They are dinosaurs trapped in the past and I urge everyone to work with the police to remove them from our streets."

Mr O'Muilleoir told BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight: "There are some micro groups of criminals masquerading under an assortment of republican labels. They have no support within the community."

Read: Former republican hardliner shot dead in Belfast

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