UK soldier killed by 'friendly fire'

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The Independent Online

A British solder was killed yesterday when a US A-10 tankbuster aircraft destroyed a Scimitar armoured vehicle in the third fatal "friendly fire" attack of the campaign on UK troops. Two other soldiers in the Scimitar were wounded.

A British solder was killed yesterday when a US A-10 tankbuster aircraft destroyed a Scimitar armoured vehicle in the third fatal "friendly fire" attack of the campaign on UK troops. Two other soldiers in the Scimitar were wounded.

The death, near Basra, brings the total of British servicemen killed in the Iraq conflict to 23 – of whom 19 were killed in either "friendly fire" incidents or other accidents. Three other British soldiers, thought to be travelling in a second Scimitar, were also injured but were described last night as "walking wounded".

The soldier's death has similarities with the worst "friendly fire" incident – for British forces – of the 1991 Gulf War, in which an American A-10 killed nine soldiers in two Warrior armoured personnel carriers. The A-10 carries a rotating Gatling gun capable of firing 3,900 rounds a minute.

The Ministry of Defence would only confirm last night that it was "investigating an incident involving possible friendly fire, as a matter of urgency".

Fourteen of the UK soldiers killed in this campaign have died in helicopter accidents.

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