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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Dead UK Afghanistan marine named
Lance Corporal Michael Jones (picture from MoD)
Lance Corporal Michael Jones was killed in a gun battle
A Royal Marine killed on a special mission in Afghanistan has been named as Lance Corporal Michael Jones.

The 26-year-old, of Newbald, Yorkshire, died on Sunday in a gun battle with Taleban insurgents in Nimruz province, in the south west of the country.

L/Cpl Jones joined the Royal Marines at the age of 18, and served in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

His death means four members of the UK armed forces have been killed in that region in the past week.

Since 2001, there have been 68 UK military fatalities in Afghanistan.

'Loyal friend'

His commanding officer, who has not been named, said Michael was a "truly exceptional junior non-commissioned officer, the best at his level".

He said he "unflinchingly stood, time after time, shoulder to shoulder with his friends in the very worst of conditions".

"It will be impossible to replace Michael. He will be remembered as a genuine and loyal friend whose selfless bravery whilst assaulting a formidable Taleban position is an example to us all," he said.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said L/Cpl Jones was "an experienced and courageous Royal Marine", whose contribution would not be forgotten.

The UK has 7,100 troops in Helmand province, making it one of the largest contributors of armed forces to the Nato mission in Afghanistan.

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