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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 08:53 GMT
Tributes to Iraq blast sergeant
Sergeant John Jones
John "Jonah" Jones served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Kosovo
The widow of a British soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq on Sunday has paid tribute to a loving husband and "fantastic dad".

Sergeant John Jones, 31, died and four others were injured, one seriously, in the attack in Basra. They are being treated at the Shaiba field hospital.

Sgt "Jonah" Jones, a Birmingham father of one, served with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

His wife Nickie said family members were mourning their "terrible loss".

The death of Sgt Jones, from Castle Bromwich, brings to 98 the number of British military fatalities since the invasion in March 2003.

He loved being a soldier and was very proud of his regiment
Nickie Jones

Mrs Jones described her husband as an "all round sportsman" who boxed, played football and was "passionate about Aston Villa".

"He loved being a soldier and was very proud of his regiment," she said.

Sgt Jones was "a fantastic dad" to their five-year-old son Jack, she added.

'Much loved'

Sgt Jones' commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Marr, said he would be remembered as an "outstanding" soldier.

"Jonah Jones was a much loved and highly popular member of our Battalion, the First Fusiliers," he said.

Brimming with energy, a love of soldiering and an endearing sense of humour and compassion for his men, he will be sorely missed
Sgt Jones' commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Simon Marr
Lt Col Marr described Sgt Jones as "brimming with energy, a love of soldiering and an endearing sense of humour and compassion for his men" and a man who would be "sorely missed".

Defence Secretary John Reid has also paid tribute to Sgt Jones.

"I was very saddened to hear that a British soldier had died whilst performing his duty in Iraq," he said.

"As always, my thoughts and prayers are with his family, and those of his fellow soldiers injured in this barbaric act of terrorism."

Sgt Jones joined the Army at 16 and had served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Kosovo.

New devices

Sunday's attack happened while the soldiers were on a routine patrol at about 1230 local time in the north of Basra.

British forces in Iraq spokesman Major Steve Melbourne said the attack had been carried out by terrorists and not local insurgents.

"These are very small groups that operate in the area," he added.

"They cause serious risk to both ourselves and the local population in Basra."

The BBC's Paul Wood said the device used in the attack was likely to be one of a new type of hi-tech explosive device which has been killing British soldiers since August.

They have sophisticated triggers and are capable of piercing through armour, which mean patrols in southern Iraq are "far more risky" for British soldiers.

The UK government claims the technology used in the attacks is coming over the Iranian border, a charge which Tehran strongly denies.




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