Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 17:43 UK

UK marine dies in Helmand blast

Troops in Afghanistan
A total of 159 British troops have died in operations in Afghanistan since 2001

A British marine was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan on Thursday, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The serviceman, from The Royal Marines Armoured Support Group, was killed while travelling in a Viking vehicle near Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province.

The family of the victim, who has not yet been named, have been informed.

He is the sixth UK serviceman to die in Afghanistan in eight days, taking the number of deaths of UK troops killed there on operations since 2001 to 159.

'True hero'

Lt Col Nick Richardson, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: "We are numb with grief at this loss of a noble marine, who served his country for the good of the Afghan people.

"He will always be remembered as a true hero."

On 7 May, Sgt Ben Ross, 34, from 173 Provost Company, 3rd Regiment, Royal Military Police, and Cpl Kumar Pun, 31, from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles, were killed by a suicide bomber during a patrol in Gereshk.

On the same day, Rifleman Adrian Sheldon, 25, from 2nd Battalion, The Rifles, was killed in an explosion near Sangin and Cpl Sean Binnie, 22, from the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland died in a fire fight with insurgents near Musa Qaleh.

Lt Mark Evison, 26, of the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards, who was shot on patrol in Afghanistan, died in the UK on 9 May after he was flown home for hospital treatment.

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