21st BRITISH SOLDIER KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN

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ANOTHER British soldier has died in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed yesterday.

The MoD said the soldier was ‘shot and killed’ in a clash with insurgents in northern Helmand – the eighth to die in Afghanistan this month.

The MoD refused to confirm if the soldier died in an attack on a British base.

The fighting between Afghan insurgents and the British occupation forces took place in the early hours yesterday.

The Ministry of Defence said the soldier’s relatives were being informed ‘and no further details will be released until that process is completed.’

Corporal Bryan Budd, from the Parachute Regiment, died in a gun battle with suspected Taleban forces in Helmand province last week.

The month began with three British soldiers being killed in an ambush by insurgents on their vehicle patrol, also in northern Helmand.

Thousands of extra British troops were sent to the province to bolster the US-led occupation of Afghanistan.

On Saturday, NATO-led forces were reported to have killed seven people they said were suspected insurgents in the Helmand region.

The NATO-led forces are reported to have used artillery against a convoy spotted by British troops near Musa Qala.

NATO spokesman Major Luke Knittig said the Taleban in Helmand had been travelling in a 12-vehicle convoy. He said eight of the vehicles had been destroyed or disabled.

The AFP news agency reported the convoy had been bombed as well as hit with artillery.

Meanwhile, two French soldiers were killed and two hurt in a roadside bomb explosion in eastern Laghman province. The French soldiers were killed on Friday.

• In Iraq, thousands of local people have celebrated the departure of British troops from their base in Amarah, in the south of the country.

Joyful Iraqis, who are suffering continuing shortages of food, fuel, water and medicine, and are without jobs, took away roofing and piping from the camp, which was to have been handed over to puppet police for use as a training centre.

Camp Abu Naji was the only permanent British base in Maysan province. British forces removed 8,000 tons of material from the base before withdrawing.