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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 April 2007, 18:56 GMT 19:56 UK
UK soldier killed on Basra patrol
A map of Iraq showing Basra
The soldier was killed in Basra, southern Iraq
A British soldier has been killed while on a routine patrol in Basra in southern Iraq, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

He was killed after dismounting from his vehicle in the Al Ashar district.

The soldier from the 2nd Battalion The Rifles has not been named but his family has been informed.

He is the 12th British soldier to die in Iraq this month - the highest monthly casualty figure since the invasion four years ago.

The MoD said the soldier was immediately evacuated to Basra Palace but subsequently died of his injuries after the attack which happened around 0930BST on Sunday.

Major David Gell, a British Army spokesman in Basra, said the "tragic" death, would not deter the troops in Basra from their goal of training up the local police and military.

'Opportunist' attack

He said the soldiers had been travelling in a Bulldog army vehicle, but had to dismount to carry out checks as they moved through the town.

We are committed to enhancing the security of the region, supporting the Iraqi Security Forces
Major David Gell

He added: "It was an opportunist small arms fire attack. They are not uncommon in Basra or indeed across the province as a whole so we are not looking at it as a new threat.

"We are committed to enhancing the security of the region, supporting the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).

"An incident like this, tragic as it is, will make us pull together and recognise that we have a job to do out here."

He added: "All of us will feel this deeply. There will be some who feel angry and all of us will feel deep sadness over it.

"We do as an organisation realise that there is a job to do and we recognise that we must continue on this job until its completion."

The latest death brings the total number of UK troops killed in operations in Iraq to 146, which includes 112 killed as a result of hostile action.

Violence continues

On Saturday, a car bomb killed 55 people in Karbala, Iraq, home to two of Shia Islam's holiest shrines.

Overnight the US carried out what it has called a massive effort to disrupt the networks of al-Qaeda in the country.

The US said 72 suspected militants had been detained in raids west and north of Baghdad, in the provinces of Anbar and Salahuddin.

In one raid, near the town of Karmah, the Americans said troops had uncovered 20 large barrels of nitric acid and other bomb-making materials.

In Baghdad, the US military fired an artillery barrage on Sunday morning targeting what reports say were insurgent positions in the south of the city.

A British Army spokesman on the incident

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