Black Watch soldier seriously injured by roadside bomb

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The Independent Online

A Black Watch soldier in Iraq was seriously injured in a roadside bomb attack yesterday as British troops operating south-west of Baghdad continued to come under sustained attack from insurgents.

A Black Watch soldier in Iraq was seriously injured in a roadside bomb attack yesterday as British troops operating south-west of Baghdad continued to come under sustained attack from insurgents.

Six soldiers had a narrow escape when a suicide bomber blew up his car near to where they were standing, a mortar attack forced a foot patrol to be abandoned and the regiment's base at Camp Dogwood came under rocket fire from insurgents.

The seriously injured soldier, who has not been named, was undergoing surgery last night after the bomb detonated underneath the Warrior armoured vehicle he was driving on the east side of the Euphrates, an area nicknamed "the dark side" because of the high levels of insurgent activity. The incident happened at 6.45am, about six miles east of Camp Dogwood. He was evacuated by helicopter to the US military hospital inside the fortified green zone in Baghdad. A spokesman for the regiment said his injuries were not thought to be life threatening.

The six soldiers who narrowly avoided injury in the suicide attack were serving with the Queen's Dragoon Guards, who have been patrolling deep in the western desert cutting off supply routes into Fallujah.

The soldiers, in two lightly armoured Scimitar vehicles, had stopped two cars at a checkpoint at 12.30pm yesterday. As they were inspecting the first car the second exploded, but none of the Guards was injured. The first car escaped as the soldiers threw themselves to the ground.

It was the first suicide bombing directed at British soldiers in central Iraq for 10 days. A spokesman for the battle group put their survival down to good luck and a change of tactics. The Black Watch has been operating far more robustly in this dangerous area south-west of Baghdad since the first attacks.

A Black Watch company was also forced to abandon a foot patrol through a village on the west side of the Euphrates after coming under mortar fire. Two rockets fired by insurgents whistled over Camp Dogwood yesterday, but both landed in the desert.

Insurgents have killed five members of the Scottish regiment since the start of its deployment in November.

This report is a pooled dispatch, compiled under MoD restrictions, from 'The Guardian's' Jamie Wilson in Camp Dogwood, Iraq

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