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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 February, 2004, 12:10 GMT
Iraq blast kills Estonian soldier
Estonian troops in Iraq
Estonia is a staunch supporter of US policy in Iraq
A bomb planted by Iraqi insurgents has killed an Estonian soldier in Baghdad - the first fatality in the contingent from the Baltic republic.

The soldier died on Saturday while on patrol in the Abu Ghraib suburb.

Andres Nuiamae was the first Estonian soldier to be killed by hostile action since Estonia won independence in 1991, a government spokeswoman said.

"We can never overestimate his courage and readiness to serve Estonia," said a government statement.

All Estonian military establishments were ordered to lower their flags in mourning.

Estonia has 45 soldiers serving with the US-led coalition forces in Iraq.

Its Baltic neighbours Latvia and Lithuania have about 100 and 90 in Iraq, respectively. Neither country has suffered any fatalities in Iraq.

The Estonian government said the soldier's death was "an extremely painful reminder that the situation in Iraq has not yet stabilised and that joint efforts for peace by the coalition forces are well-founded".


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