13 November, 2006

British fatalities in Iraq: (updated)

The Ministry of Defence has announced the death of four servicemen in Iraq, after an attack on a patrol boat. Three others are seriously injured.

The attack took place on the Shatt Al-Arab waterway in Basra city at around 1300 local time on Sunday 12 November 2006.

The injured personnel have been medically evacuated to Shaibah Logistics Base by helicopter. No further details will be released until the next of kin have been informed.
The total of UK fatalities in Iraq is now 125.

Reuters reports:
The routine patrol was caught in an explosion caused by an improvised bomb, a [MoD] spokesman said.

Captain Tane Dunlop, the Multi-National forces spokesman in south Iraq, told the BBC: "The use of improvised explosive devices is very common in Iraq. It is slightly unusual in that this time it was targeting a boat." Britain has some 7,000 troops in southern Iraq, which has generally been calmer than the centre and north of the country, and 125 British armed forces personnel have died since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
From the BBC:
British military personnel have been patrolling the waterway, which borders with Iran and is considered a vital supply line, since 2003.

The attack took place at 0950 GMT (1250 local time) on Sunday and is thought to be the first such attack on a patrol boat.

BBC correspondent David Loyn, speaking from Baghdad, said: "It was quite an extraordinary attack.

"The boat was on the water with at least seven military personnel on board. We don't know if they were marines or soldiers."
Update 13.11.06 08:30

From the Guardian:
Two of the soldiers killed were from 45 Commando Royal Marines and one each was from the Royal Signals and the Intelligence Corps, the Ministry of Defence said.

An MoD spokesman said the families of the soldiers killed and injured have now been informed, but some had requested a period of 24 hours before their names were released.

He anticipated they would be named on Tuesday morning.

He said the condition of one of the three men hurt had "improved significantly", although two remain very seriously injured.
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