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Last Updated: Monday, 17 July 2006, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
MoD names soldier killed in Basra
MoD picture of Corporal John Cosby
Corporal John Cosby died as a result of gunshot wounds
A British soldier killed following a clash north of Basra in Iraq has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Corporal John Johnston Cosby, 27, of the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, died on Sunday as a result of gunshot wounds, the MoD said.

He was involved in an operation to "apprehend a key terrorist leader and accomplice", the MoD said.

Cpl Cosby, who was born in Belfast, was one of two soldiers wounded when they came under small arms fire.

Two suspects were held during Saturday's operation, which took place in the Garmat Ali tribal area, north of Basra.

Some 8,000 British troops are stationed in southern Iraq. Cpl Cosby's death brings the total of British killed there to 114.

'Lethal attacks'

Cpl Cosby's commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Toffer Beatie, said he had been evacuated by helicopter but died soon after reaching a field hospital.

"Following the operation, a terrorist who has masterminded many lethal attacks on Multi National Forces was detained and a detailed search of the premises was under way.

"It was at this point that a number of gunmen ambushed Corporal Cosby's team. In the ensuing fire fight Corporal Cosby was fatally wounded. "

Cpl Cosby was born in Belfast and lived there until he was seven when he moved to Exeter with his family, the MoD said.

He (Cpl Cosby) valued the responsibility he felt for his peers and his subordinates more than his own well-being

The MoD website said that while in Iraq, the soldier's "experience, enthusiasm and style" had made him an obvious choice to be made a team leader in the Brigade Surveillance Company.

It said Cpl Cosby had shown "uncompromising professionalism in all aspects of his work" over recent months.

Cpl Cosby, known as George to his friends, was "held in great affection" by all who knew him, and his sense of humour was "perhaps his most memorable characteristic", the MoD said.

"He valued the responsibility he felt for his peers and his subordinates more than his own well-being," it added.

His mother Jean said he was an "amazing son, brother, uncle and nephew".

The Devon and Dorset Light Infantry, which is based in Catterick, North Yorkshire, is three months into a six-and-half month tour of Iraq as part of the 20th Armoured Brigade.

Defence Secretary Des Browne has described the soldier's death as "terribly sad".

He said: "I would like to offer my deepest condolences to their family and friends.

"I wish the soldier who was injured a speedy recovery and pay tribute to the bravery of both troops."

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