British marine killed in southern Afghanistan: ministry

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A British marine was shot dead on Tuesday while on foot patrol in the violence-wracked Sangin district of southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said.

The marine's death was not related to the killing of three British army Gurkhas by a renegade Afghan soldier on Tuesday, the ministry said in a statement.

The serviceman, from 40 Commando Royal Marines, was killed by small arms fire in the Sangin district of Helmand province, while on patrol with soldiers from the Afghan National Army. His family has been informed.

British Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced last week that British troops would hand over control of Sangin to US forces by the end of the year. Around a third of Britain's fatalities in Afghanistan have occurred in Sangin.

A total of 318 British serviceman have now been killed in Afghanistan since the start of military operations there in 2001 -- 280 of them as a result of hostile action.

The remaining 38 died as a result of illness, non-combat injuries or accidents, or have not yet officially been assigned a cause of death pending the outcome of investigations.

© 2010 AFP

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