A British civilian has been killed in an explosion in Iraq. The news emerged as the Defence Secretary, John Reid, revealed for the first time that 230 British troops have been wounded in action since the invasion of Iraq began in 2003.
Stephen Enright, 29, from Exeter, Devon, was killed when an explosive hit the vehicle in which he was travelling on Thursday. He was employed by the London-based Armor Group, a subcontractor providing security to the Environmental Chemical Corporation, of Colorado.
Mr Reid was visiting injured British soldiers at a military rehabilitation clinic in south London yesterday, where he was confronted by Sue Norton, whose husband, Captain Peter Norton, lost an arm and a leg in a bomb blast.
She asked why the Ministry of Defence, unlike the Pentagon, do not publish details of combat injuries. In reply, Mr Reid said that of the 230 soldiers, 40 had been injured seriously. Little has been said about injuries suffered by troops. Mr Reid said categorising the injured, wounded and sick was simply not a priority for forces in Iraq.
Disclosure of the figures prompted renewed calls for greater transparency as well as scepticism from some quarters. Peter Kilfoyle, a former defence minister, said: "If there is an attempt to play down the nature or the number of these injuries, it is to be deplored."
Speaking on a visit to Headley Court defence medical rehabilitation centre, Mr Reid said: "I get bowled over by the courage, enthusiasm and endurance of ordinary squaddies. People have the most traumatic experiences, have lost limbs, and what they want to do is get rehabilitated and get back into the services."