Nine hurt as British Apache fires on own troops

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NINE British troops were injured in a "friendly fire" incident in Afghanistan, it emerged last night.

A British Apache helicopter opened fire on troops on patrol from 2 Para on Wednesday.

Six of the injured have returned to duty and two are stable and under observation in the field hospital at Camp Bastion.

One soldier is returning to the UK and is said to be in a stable condition. Next of kin have been informed, the Ministry of Defence said.

The MoD said the aircraft fired on a position that was thought to be held by enemy forces, but instead injured members of a ground patrol in Helmand province.

A statement from the MoD said: "On 9 July, at 12:27pm, a routine British patrol requested fire support from a British Apache when they encountered enemy forces near Forward Operating Base Gibraltar. After successfully engaging one enemy position, the Apache fired upon another position, which the crew believed to be held by enemy forces.

"However, in the confusion of a rapidly-changing situation and in what is a challenging environment, it would appear that friendly forces were mistaken for the enemy and, as a result, three members of the patrol were seriously wounded and six more were classified as walking wounded.

"The seriously wounded personnel were moved by helicopter to Camp Bastion medical facilities. An investigation is under way into how the incident occurred and it would be inappropriate to comment until that investigation is complete."

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