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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 June, 2004, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Blair's tribute to dead soldier
Fusilier Gordon Gentle
Fusilier Gentle was killed in Iraq
The prime minister has paid tribute to a young Scottish soldier killed in an explosion in Iraq.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Tony Blair passed on his condolences to the family of Fusilier Gordon Gentle, from Glasgow.

The family of the 19-year-old questioned why someone so inexperienced should have been in Basra.

Scottish Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan also paid tribute to the teenager whom he had known for a number of years.

He said Fusilier Gentle, of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, was a fantastic boy and a man of whom the local community could be proud.

Fusilier Gentle's mother Rose has made an angry public attack on the prime minister and Defence Minister Geoff Hoon over the death of her son.

'See through the tears'

The young soldier from the Pollok area of Glasgow was killed on Monday by an improvised explosive device while on mobile patrol in Basra.

Two other soldiers were also injured on the day the US-led administration handed over power to the new Iraqi government.

Mr Blair's sympathy message to Mr Gentle's family came in a statement on the latest developments in Iraq.

Mr Sheridan said Fusilier Gentle's mother had spoken volumes.

He went on: "She is a grief stricken mother but she is still able to see through her tears the irrelevance of the Iraq war to ordinary people's lives, and that fact that young men like Gordon should not be there in the first place.

"All that remains to be said is bring the rest of these young men home now.

"He was a young lad who did what he thought was right, and he used to help organise the Pollok gala day."

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