Britons held over soldier stabbing
Three British tourists have been arrested after a soldier was stabbed to death in Cyprus, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed a 19-year-old soldier from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, had died. His family have been informed.
Police spokesman Georgios Economou said a fight broke out at a nightclub in the resort of Ayia Napa between four off-duty soldiers and three British holidaymakers in the early hours. One of the tourists allegedly stabbed the soldier.
A Foreign and Commonwealth spokesman said: "We are aware of the arrest of three British nationals in Ayia Napa and we are providing consular assistance."
Connie Pierce, a British military spokeswoman, said the attack took place in an area of the Eastern Mediterranean island that British soldiers are told to avoid because of previous incidents.
After the rape and murder of Danish tour guide Louise Jensen by British servicemen in 1994, the centre of Ayia Napa was declared off limits to soldiers by military top brass on the island, which is a clubbing resort with a reputation for sex, drugs and violence.
Around 3,000 British military personnel are stationed in Cyprus at bases retained after the former British colony gained independence in 1960.
In 2008 nine British soldiers went on trial accused of trashing a pub and beating up its owner during a mass bar brawl on the island. The servicemen, who were celebrating finishing tours of Iraq and Afghanistan and coming home to the UK, were all acquitted.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "It is with great sadness that the MoD must confirm that a soldier from 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers has died in an incident in Cyprus.
"An investigation is being conducted by Cyprus police and it would be inappropriate to comment any further. The family has been informed and our thoughts are with them."