DISASTER! – more British troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan

Families of British soldiers killed in Iraq led off this ‘Troops out of Iraq’ march in London
Families of British soldiers killed in Iraq led off this ‘Troops out of Iraq’ march in London

Two British soldiers were killed and another two injured, one seriously, in a roadside bomb attack near Basra in southern Iraq, yesterday.

Their patrol was targeted by a roadside bomb and small arms fire near the town of Ad Dayr, 9km north of Basra, at about 1pm local time.

The Ministry of Defence said in a statement: ‘It is with great regret that we can confirm that two British soldiers have died as a result of an attack on a British patrol.

‘One other British soldier was seriously injured, and a further one suffered minor injuries.

‘Both have been evacuated for emergency medical care and taken by helicopter to a British Field Hospital at Shaibah Logistics Base.’

In a separate incident, military boats at a UK base in Basra were hit by mortar rounds or rockets, which also set off a fire among boats on a waterway inside the perimeter of the Shatt al-Arab Hotel base.

No casualties were reported.

The deaths bring the total number of UK soldiers killed in operations in Iraq since the 2003 conflict to 117.

Meanwhile in Jordan, a British man was killed when a gunman opened fire on a group of foreign tourists in the capital, Amman, at 12.30pm local time (0930 GMT).

Five other tourists were injured – two British women as well as tourists from New Zealand, the Netherlands and Australia – in the shooting at the Roman amphitheatre, a popular attraction.

Eyewitnesses said the attacker, believed to be a Jordanian, approached the small group of tourists shouting ‘God is great’ in Arabic before firing at least 12 shots at them.

When his ammunition ran out, the man fled into the crowds before being arrested.

The deaths in Iraq and Jordan came after a British soldier was killed and one was critically wounded in a suicide bomb attack in Kabul.

Four other British troops were wounded when the bomber rammed a NATO patrol in a four wheel drive vehicle. Four Afghan civilians were killed and four were wounded in the same attack.

The latest round of UK casualties came two days after 14 British personnel were killed on Saturday when their Nimrod reconnaissance plane was downed near Kandahar.

The new head of the British army, Sir Richard Dannatt, who took over from General Sir Mike Jackson last week, has warned that British troops are stretched to their limit.

He said: ‘We are running hot, certainly running hot. Can we cope? I say “just”.’

General Dannatt added that the UK was having to do ‘more than its share of what is required in Afghanistan’.

He also said talk of a British withdrawal from Basra was only a ‘hope’ and previous such hopes had not been fulfilled.

• Four US troops facing charges of killing Iraqi detainees could be the first US troops to be executed since 1961.

A US army investigator has recommended that the four face the death penalty if convicted of killing three detainees during a raid in northern Iraq.

Lieutenant Colonel James Daniel made the recommendation in a report, after finding ‘aggravating circumstances’, despite a plea of self defence from Army Staff Sergeant Raymond Girouard, Spc William Hunsaker, Pfc Corey Claggett and Spc Juston Graber.

The four have admitted the killings in Tikrit in May but say they believed their safety was threatened after the detainees allegedly tried to escape.