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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 19:15 GMT
'Hotbed of anti-British violence'
Iraqis throwing rocks at British APC

Panorama's Jane Corbin was the only journalist with members of the British battle group shortly before the latest bombing in the southern city of Amara.

Two soldiers, serving with the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, were killed by the bomb and another injured in the incident on Tuesday. They have been named as Private Lee Ellis, 23, and Captain Richard Holmes, 28.

Jane has been in Iraq travelling with producer Chris Woods and cameraman Mark McCauley as they prepared a report for Panorama.

"I was in Amara with the British battle group which is based there when the attack happened. Two soldiers were killed and another was injured.

There's been an increasing tension in Amara over the last week, and that morning a meeting that I was due to have with the provincial governor at the council building was cancelled at the last minute due to their fears about the safety of Westerners in the city.

Nevertheless I did walk along one of the main streets of Al-Amara, with British soldiers, and the situation was very hard to read. Some stones were thrown, a few people did acknowledge me, but many were hostile."

Amara has become a hotbed of anti-British violence, with at least 11 British servicemen killed there in the last two years. The city is the capital of Maysan province, bordering Iran.

"The city is a tribal area where competing Shia militias vie for control. It's a city where guns are rife. The area has claimed the highest number of British lives in Iraq over the past three years and now another two to add to the toll."

Panorama's report on the situation in southern Iraq, three years since the fall of Saddam Hussein, will be broadcast on Sunday 19 March 2006 at 22:15GMT on BBC One.



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