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Soldier death: Friendly fire probed

A British soldier who died in southern Afghanistan on Sunday may have been killed by friendly fire, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The soldier, from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, was shot while on patrol in the Nad-e Ali District of Helmand Province.

Initial reports indicate that his death may have been caused by an attack on an insurgent position by a US aircraft, an MoD spokesman said.

The spokesman said: "Further to the announcement of the death of a soldier from 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment in Nad e-Ali yesterday, initial reports suggest that the death was caused as a result of a friendly fire incident.

"The incident will be the subject of a full investigation; however, first reports indicate that an attack on an insurgent position by a US aircraft, requested by and agreed with British forces on the ground, may have been the cause.

"The investigation is ongoing and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

The family of the serviceman, who has not yet been named, have been told. The incident in Helmand Province is under investigation by the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf).

The soldier was part of an operation working to increase security in the district, Task Force Helmand spokesman Lieutenant Colonel David Eastman said.

He added: "He has made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the people of Nad-e Ali from insurgent intimidation and defending his country from the threat of terrorism; no more could be asked of any soldier. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him."

A total of 346 UK military personnel have died since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001.

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