Two British soldiers killed in Iraq

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The Independent Online

Two British soldiers have been killed in a roadside bomb attack in Basra, the Ministry of Defence said today.

The troops from the Queen's Dragoon Guards were killed in the explosion at 9.30pm last night, the MoD said in a statement. Two others suffered minor injuries.

The statement said: "The Ministry of Defence can confirm that an incident took place in Basra yesterday at 21.30 local time.

"Two members of the Queen's Dragoon Guards were killed and two others suffered minor injuries in what appears to be an attack from an improvised explosive device.

"The soldiers were from the Queen's Dragoon Guards, part of the Basra City Battlegroup.

"The next of kin of those killed have been informed and they have asked for a period of time to come to terms with their tragic news.

"We will release further information as it becomes available."

Defence Secretary Des Browne said: "It was with profound sorrow that I heard of the tragic deaths last night of two British soldiers.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of these brave men. I am told that two other soldiers have sustained minor injuries.

"The incident took place in North West Basra City and appears to be an improvised explosive device, but you will understand that I cannot comment further until more information becomes available."

The attack came a day after British and Iraqi forces seized their largest-ever haul of bomb-making equipment and weapons in a bid to improve the deteriorating security situation in Basra.

Two British privates, Adam Morris, 19, and Joseva Lewaicei, 25, died in a roadside bomb attack near the city just over a fortnight ago.

There were also clashes between local people and British forces earlier this month after a Lynx helicopter was brought down in an apparent rocket attack.

Five military personnel died in the crash, and several Iraqis were reportedly killed in the ensuing riots.

The Queen's Dragoon Guards, also known as the Welsh Cavalry, are currently based in Osnabruck, northern Germany.

The regiment's website said it recruited in Wales and the border counties of Shropshire and Herefordshire.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said both of the soldiers, the 112th and 113th British service personnel to die since the start of hostilities in Iraq, were men, but would not give any further details about them.

Their names are not expected to be released until tomorrow.

The spokesman said the soldiers were on a routine patrol in an armoured Land Rover when they were hit.

Iraq-based military spokesman Major Sebastian Muntz told Sky News: "We are being successful against the terrorists but tragically this has happened.

"The soldiers on the ground have had some very successful operations over the last few days. The broad mass of the population support what we are doing and are very much on side.

"Clearly there are elements of the population that are trying to disrupt our activity and don't want the secure environment that our soldiers are trying to provide."

Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Nick Harvey said: "Our thoughts are with the injured and bereaved.

"It is becoming increasingly dangerous for our troops, as sadly these incidents are all too frequent.

"We need a strategy, making it clear to all, precisely what we're trying to achieve in Iraq."