Bomb kills soldier as death toll rises to 168

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The Independent Online

The latest officer to be killed in action during an operation in southern Afghanistan was named yesterday by defence officials as Lieutenant Paul Mervis, 27, from London.

Lt Mervis, who was a platoon commander with 2nd Battalion The Rifles, died on Friday from a blast near Sangin in northern Helmand Province.

A statement from his family yesterday said: "Paul was a wonderful, loving son, brother and friend: generous and thoughtful, with an infectious sense of fun. He was passionately committed to his men."

His death took the number of British service personnel who have died in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001 to 168. Lt Mervis was caught in a blast from an improvised explosive device. He died 10 days after one of his platoon, Rifleman Cyrus Thatcher, was killed by an explosion during another operation in Afghanistan.

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