British Marine killed in Iraq

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The Independent Online

Another British serviceman has been killed in Iraq, Downing Street said today.

Royal Marine Corporal Ian Plank, 31, was killed by hostile fire, the Ministry of Defence said.

Cpl Plank, from Poole, Dorset, died during a military operation on October 31 but his death was not revealed until today.

Tony Blair's official spokesman said: "The Prime Minister is obviously deeply saddened.

"We have always been aware that the work that our troops do in Iraq is both dangerous and valuable, and the Prime Minister has always been very aware of the risks that our soldiers run at the same time as he believes their work is highly to be valued."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said there was no further information about the nature of the incident which claimed the corporal's life.

Colonel Jerry Heal, director of the Royal Marines, said: "Ian Plank was an extremely popular and greatly admired member of the Royal Marines, widely respected for his professional excellence, commitment and determination.

"He was particularly well known for his resilience and robustness under pressure, when his leadership, example and sense of humour were especially valued.

"He embodied all the personal and professional qualities associated with the Royal Marines and he enriched the lives of those who knew him, both socially and in the workplace.

"His positive outlook, bright disposition and zest for life will be remembered with deep pride and affection by all who knew him, and most of all by his family and those members of the Royal Marines and others with whom he served around the world."