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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 May 2006, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Roadside bomb targets UK troops
Basra scene
The soldiers sustained minor injuries in the incident
Two British soldiers have been injured in a roadside bombing in southern Iraq, the Ministry of Defence has said.

An MoD spokesman said British-led troops were on a routine patrol north west of Basra when they were attacked.

The wounded soldiers sustained light injuries and have been taken back to their base in the city, he added.

BBC correspondent Paul Wood said their Land Rover was set alight after being targeted by a group who gathered at the site after the explosion.

Our correspondent said the tempo of roadside bomb attacks against British troops has increased in recent weeks.

He said British military chiefs believe they still have the consent of most people in Basra although it only takes a few people to cause a problem.

Extended period

Last weekend, two soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, died in a roadside bomb attack.

The deaths came just a week after five UK military personnel were killed in a helicopter crash in the city.

We're now hoping there will be progress towards a stable situation that will create a prosperous and economically successful Iraq
Major Sebastian Muntz
British Army spokesman

In the unrest that followed the crash, several local people - including two children - died.

Saturday's bombing occurred as Iraq's parliament approved a new government, including members of the main Shia, Kurd and Sunni parties.

British Army spokesman Major Sebastian Muntz said the recent attacks were "worrying".

But he added: "We're now hoping there will be progress towards a stable situation that will create a prosperous and economically successful Iraq, and we're working towards that."

The new government was welcomed by Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.

She said the UK would continue to help the Iraqi people "face these challenges for as long as Iraq needs us".

"If both Iraq and the international community are to defeat those who advocate violence, the new Iraqi government is going to have to take tough decisions on building democratic structures, building up their security forces and developing their economy," she said.

The UK's top military officer in Iraq General Robert Fry said the new government would need help to maintain security for some time.

"If security has to be provided here for an extended period of time then that is what needs to happen," he told the BBC.

Elsewhere in Iraq on Saturday, an attack in a Shia district of Baghdad left at least 19 people dead and 58 wounded.

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