MoD to be sued over 'friendly fire' cases

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The Independent Online

A series of legal actions by servicemen badly injured during "friendly fire" incidents in Iraq are being brought against the Government, claiming negligence by the Ministry of Defence.

The claims are potentially embarrassing for the Government, which has already been accused of trying to minimise the level of casualties in the Iraq conflict.

While the MoD admitted for the first time last week that 230 soldiers had been seriously injured during military action, it says that it cannot reveal how many of those were a result of "friendly fire" - either by British or American troops. However, it is believed that eight of the 98 deaths of British service personnel in Iraq may have been due to friendly fire.

One of those bringing a legal claim is Albert Thompson, 37, a former colour sergeant in the Royal Highland Fusiliers, who lost a leg after being accidentally shot by a colleague near Basra in 2003. He received 11 bullets in the leg and his hand; he spent 100 days in hospital and the left leg was amputated above the knee.

Mr Thompson, who lives in Lincolnshire, said last night that he knew of at least three other similar cases where legal action was being considered and believed there were "many more".