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Two held in N. Ireland poll attack

RUC officers
RUC officers stand guard after two colleagues suffered injuries in a poll shooting  

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (CNN) -- Two men have been arrested in connection with a shooting in which two police officers were injured at a polling station in County Londonderry.

A young woman, was also hurt in the shooting at St Mary's Primary School in Draperstown, about 22 kilometres (35 miles) northwest of Belfast, on Thursday evening.

She was taken to hospital with leg injuries, police said.

The two police officers suffered injuries to the shoulder and arm. All three were in a stable condition.

The incident happened 15 minutes before polls closed in the UK's parliamentary election, at 9.45 p.m. on Thursday (20.45 GMT).

A gunman got out of a car and fired several bullets with police returning a single shot at the silver-coloured Volkswagen Passat.

Police later recovered the abandoned burning car at about 10 p.m. (2100 GMT).

It was not clear which group was behind the attack, despite recent warnings that republicans might take some action in the run-up to the election.

The vote is seen as a crucial test for the Northern Ireland peace process.

CNN's Nic Robertson in Northern Ireland said it was the first time in several years there had been a direct attack on Royal Ulster Constabulary officers.

Authorities refused to speculate on a motive for the shooting.

Northern Ireland Secretary Dr John Reid, quoted by the Press Association, said: "The attack on police officers at the polling station in Draperstown shows the total contempt for democracy that these people have.

"They have no principles. They have no mandate and they dare not seek a mandate because what they represent has been rejected time and again by the people of Ireland, north and south."

Forensic tests will be carried out at the school on Friday.

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