Page last updated at 22:14 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

One dies in attack on Iraq base


A foreign civilian has been killed in a rocket attack on the main British military base in southern Iraq.

Up to three rockets were fired at the base west of Basra just before 2100 local time (1800 GMT), the BBC's James Shaw in Basra reports.

It is the first time the base has been attacked since December 2008.

No Britons were injured during the attack on the base near Basra Airport and investigations are under way, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said.

"We can confirm there has been a rocket attack on a contingency operating base at Basra Airport," he said.

"There has been one foreign civilian fatality. There are no British casualties."

British troops have been stationed near the airport since withdrawing from Basra in September 2007.

From there, the 4,100-strong force has been training and mentoring Iraqi soldiers.

Last month, Private Ryan Wrathall, 21, from Surbiton, Surrey, became the 179th British casualty since the 2003 invasion when he was shot at the base.

Iraq took control of security in Basra in January and the majority of British troops are due to pull out by July.

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