British Army soldier killed in Afghanistan explosion

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A British army soldier was killed by an explosion Wednesday while on patrol in Afghanistan's troubled Helmand province, the Ministry of Defence said.

The member of the 4th Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, was part of a patrol in the Babaji district of the southern province when he was killed by an improvised explosive device.

His death brought to 385 the number of British troops killed since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001. Of these, at least 339 were killed in combat. He is the 37th to die this year.

"We are greatly saddened by the news of this soldier's death," said Task Force Helmand spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Mackenzie.

"We will keep him and his loved ones in our thoughts as we carry on with our important mission. His loss is not in vain."

The soldier's next of kin had been informed.

Britain has around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, making it the second-largest contributor to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

They are based in central Helmand, battling Taliban insurgents and training local security forces.

Matthew Haseldin, 21, from 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, will be repatriated to Britain on Thursday after he was shot dead in Helmand last week.

© 2011 AFP

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