1 Jan 2009

British soldier killed in Afghanistan

5:42 pm on 1 January 2009

A British Royal Marine has been killed in an explosion in Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Britain's Defence Ministry said the soldier died while on patrol in the Sangin district of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.

Britain has more than 8,000 troops in Afghanistan battling Taliban guerrillas.

The latest death brings to 137 the number of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan since Britain joined a US-led invasion in 2001.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports British forces in Iraq have handed over to the Iraqi authorities two Iraqi nationals accused of murdering two British soldiers.

The British government says it has no legal power to keep them in custody after the end of this year, despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that they should not be transferred.