Marine killed in Afghan explosion

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A ROYAL MARINE has been killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said.

The marine, from 42 Commando Royal Marines, was involved in an operation in the north of Helmand Province yesterday. His next of kin have been informed.

Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Purbrick, said: “It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death of a Royal Marine from 42 Commando Royal Marines.

“The Royal Marine was involved in an operation which was investigating suspected insurgent activity in a number of compounds in the Loy Mandeh Wadi area of the Nad-e Ali district in Helmand Province when he was fatally injured by an improvised explosive device early this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

The death takes the number of UK military personnel who have died since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001 to 365.

Confirmation of the loss came after more than 100 soldiers were welcomed home by family and friends from fighting in Afghanistan. The final squadron of ‘Tankies’ from 2nd Royal Tank Regiment (2 RTR) were applauded as they returned to their Aliwal barracks, in Tidworth, Wiltshire, after a successful six-month tour.

The 120 members of Badger squadron played a key role in the war torn country, supporting British and Afghanistan forces with Mastiff and Warthog Armoured Vehicles in Helmand province.

Their return marks the end of 2 RTR’s deployment with a total of nearly 300 officers and soldiers involved in fighting insurgents, patrolling towns and villages, repairing schools, mentoring the Afghan National Police and even guarding a rock concert.

Commanding officer Major James Cameron said: “It is good to be coming home and we are looking forward to being re-united with our families and friends.”