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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 August 2005, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Wounded soldier flown home
Iraqi boys on a burned British military vehicle after a suspected roadside bombing
Two military vehicles were hit by a suspected roadside bomb
A British soldier critically injured by a roadside bomb in Basra has been flown home for more treatment, the Army said.

The soldier suffered upper body injuries and remained "very seriously ill" after Saturday's explosion in the Gzeiza area, the spokesman said.

"He was flown back to Britain on Monday morning and is now being treated at a military medical facility," he added.

A roadside bomb went off in the city but no other soldiers were injured in the attack.

Three British troops and two British security guards have died in attacks in Basra since mid-July.

The injured soldier had emergency surgery in Iraq on Saturday before arrangements were made to fly him home, the Army spokesman said.

The investigation into the blast is continuing.

Mike Wooldridge, BBC world affairs correspondent, said the incident came in a "difficult period" in the south of Iraq, which was generally regarded as much calmer than the north.

Security guards

Britain has about 8,500 troops in Iraq, mostly based in the south of the country, and Saturday's attack is the third in the region in three weeks.

Three British troops died in a roadside bomb attack in Amarah, north of Basra on 16 July, taking the total number killed in action to 92.

On 31 July, two civilian security guards were killed in attack on a British Embassy convoy on a road near Basra.

At least 21 British civilians have been killed in Iraq since March 2004, according to the Foreign Office website.

The Iraqi Defence Ministry says an estimated 2,700 Iraqis, around half of them civilians, have been killed in insurgency-related incidents since April.


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