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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
British soldier shot dead in Iraq
British soldiers on patrol in Iraq
The soldier came under fire while out on patrol
A British soldier has been killed in Iraq - the 150th member of the UK armed forces to die in the country since the 2003 invasion.

The soldier was from A Company, 4th Battalion The Rifles, the Ministry of Defence said.

He had been part of a patrol conducting a search and detention operation.

After being shot by small arms fire, he was flown by helicopter to the field hospital in the British base at Basra Air Station but died from his injuries.

'Heart goes out'

Three other coalition troops were injured as a result of the battle, which took place at 0220 local time (1120 BST) in the Al Atiyah district, north west of Basra City on Thursday, but their condition is not thought to be life-threatening.

It just goes on, this steady trickle of flag-bearing coffins coming home
Reg Keys

The previous British soldier to be killed in Iraq was Corporal Jeremy Brookes, also of 4th Battalion The Rifles.

He died of his injuries after the convoy he was travelling in came under attack in southern Iraq on 21 May.

The soldier had been commanding a vehicle escorting a re-supply convoy in the Al Tuwaysa district of the city.

Rose Gentle, whose son Fusilier Gordon Gentle was killed in June 2004, said she felt "sick" to learn UK deaths in Iraq had reached 150.

She said: "I think Gordon Brown should be thinking 'This is the time, this is it, bring them home'.

"My heart goes out to the mother. I know the hurt and the pain that she is going through. We are thinking of her."

Reg Keys, father of Tom, one of six Red Caps killed by an angry Iraqi mob in October 2003, added: "It's a milestone and I would like to know what the strategy is now, what the objective for those remaining troops to achieve in Iraq."

"It just goes on, this steady trickle of flag-bearing coffins coming home."

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