Briton killed by US grenade during Afghan rescue: minister

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A British aid worker was killed by a grenade thrown by a US soldier during an attempt to rescue her from Taliban kidnappers in Afghanistan, Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed Thursday.

Hague said that members of the US special forces team involved in the attempt to save Linda Norgrove on October 8 had been disciplined following a joint US-British investigation.

"Linda Norgrove died as a result of penetration fragmentation injuries to the head and chest," Hague told parliament as he revealed the results of the probe.

Hague praised the courage of the US special forces who tried to save the 36-year-old, saying it was an "incredibly difficult operation".

But he said that early reports that she died because of the detonation of a suicide vest were a "matter of concern".

Hague said the US soldiers did report their own use of a grenade, but this was not immediately passed up the US military chain of command. Senior officials only learned of it after viewing video footage of the rescue bid.

"The investigation team found that the failure to disclose information that a grenade was thrown breached US military law," he said.

"As a result members of the rescue team have been disciplined for failing to provide a complete and full account of their actions in accordance with US military procedure."

© 2010 AFP

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