Withdraw call as UK suffers 150th military death in Iraq
A BRITISH soldier was shot dead in Iraq yesterday, the 150th UK military death in the country since the start of the invasion.
The grim landmark was reached when a soldier from the 4th Battalion The Rifles was shot during a swoop in the district of al-Atiyah, north-west of Basra, southern Iraq.
His death prompted calls for the final withdrawal of British troops from Iraq.
The victim, who has not been named, was airlifted to the main British base in the city, but later died.
The bloody milestone came as Britain's ambassador to Iraq issued a direct appeal for the release of five UK citizens taken hostage in Baghdad more than a week ago.
And Rose Gentle, mother of Fusilier Gordon Gentle who died in Iraq in June 2004, said she felt "sick" to hear of the death of the 150th member of British forces.
She added: "I think Gordon Brown should be thinking, 'this is the time, this is it, bring them home'."
Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader, said:
"My sympathies go out to the family and friends of the soldier who died.
"With chilling regularity, news is delivered of British fatalities in Iraq. Our brave servicemen and servicewomen have done all they can, but we have reached a point where our presence is only exacerbating the situation."
The figure of 150 fatalities includes 116 killed in action and 34 others whose deaths were accidents or linked to natural causes, illness, remain unexplained, or are still under investigation.
However, it falls far short of the 3,487 US servicemen and women killed in the region since the start of 'Operation Iraqi Freedom'.
The number of Iraqi civilians killed by violence in the country since the 2003 invasion stands at between 64,879 and 71,042, according to estimates from Iraq Body Count project.
The Ministry of Defence last night said the soldier who died had been taking part in a "search-and-detention" operation in al-Atiyah when he was shot by small arms fire at 2:20am local time. He was airlifted to Basra Air Station for medical treatment but died.
Three other coalition troops were hurt, but their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. Next of kin have been informed.
Lindsay German, of the Stop the War Coalition, said: "We now have 150 dead British servicemen in Iraq, which is the biggest death toll since the Falklands War. It's a war we aren't winning and we can't win.
"The only thing we can do is to admit we were wrong to go in the first place, to admit that we are not improving the situation and to bring the troops home now."
• A British soldier killed in action in Afghanistan was named by the Ministry of Defence yesterday as Lance-Corporal Paul Sandford, 23, from London.
L-Cpl Sandford, of the 1st Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters, was shot during an operation to clear a Taleban compound in Helmand Province on Wednesday.
THE ROLL-CALL OF HEROES: VICTIMS OF THE IRAQ CONFLICT
Comrades pay tribute to one of the fallen as another coffin arrives back on UK soil
Captain Philip Guy, 29. Naval Rating Ian Seymour. Warrant Officer Second Class Mark Stratford, 39. Marine Sholto "Sonic" Hedenskog, 25. Lance Bombardier Llywelyn "Welly" Evans, 24. Colour Sgt John Cecil, 36. Major Jason Ward, 34. Sergeant Les Hehir, 34. Lt Philip Green, 31. Lt Tony King, 35. Lt James Williams, 28. Lt Philip West, 32. Lt Marc Lawrence, 26. Lt Andrew Wilson, 36. Flight Lt Kevin Main. Flight Lt Dave Williams. Sapper Luke Allsopp, 24. Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth, 36. Sergeant Steven Roberts, 33. Lance Corporal Barry "Baz" Stephen, 31. Corporal Stephen John Allbutt, 35. Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull, 25. Royal Marine Christopher Maddison, 24. Lance Corporal Shaun Brierley, 28. Staff Sergeant Chris Muir, 32. Lance Corporal Ian Malone, of Dublin, 28. Piper Christopher Muzvuru, 21. Lt Alexander Tweedie, 25. Lance Corporal James McCue, 27. Private Andrew Joseph Kelly, 18. Gunner Duncan Pritchard, 22. Corporal David Shepherd, 34. Firefighter Leonard Harvey. Sergeant Simon Alexander Hamilton-Jewell, 41. Corporal Russell Aston, 30. Corporal Paul Graham Long, 24. Corporal Simon Miller, 21. Lance-Corporal Benjamin John McGowan Hyde, 23. Lance-Corporal Thomas Richard Keys, 20. Captain James Linton, 43. Private Jason Smith, 32. Captain David Jones, 29. Major Matthew Titchener, 32. Warrant Officer Colin Wall, 34. Corporal Dewi Pritchard, 35. Fusilier Russell Beeston, 26. Sergeant John Nightingale, 32. Corporal Ian Plank, 31. Private Ryan Thomas, 18. Major James Stenner, 30. Sergeant Norman Patterson, 28. Lance Corporal Andrew James Craw, 21. Rifleman Vincent Calvin Windsor, 23. Sapper Robert Thomson, Royal Engineers, 22. Corporal Richard Thomas David Ivell, 29. Fusilier Gordon Gentle, 19. Flight Lieutenant Kristian Gover, 30. Private Christopher Gordon Rayment, 22. Private Lee O'Callaghan, 20. Private Marc Ferns, 21. Lance Corporal Paul Thomas, 29. Fusilier Stephen Jones, 22. Corporal Marc "Spud" Taylor, 27. Gunner David Lawrence, 25. Private Kevin Thomas McHale, 27. Staff Sergeant Denise Michelle Rose, 34. Private Paul Lowe, 19. Sergeant Stuart Gray, 31. Private Scott McArdle, 22. Private Pita Tukatukawaqa, 27. Acting Chief Petty Officer Simon Owen, 38. Sergeant Paul Connolly, 33. Squadron Leader Patrick Marshall, 39. Flight Lieutenant David Stead, 35. Flight Lieutenant Andrew "Smudge" Smith, 25. Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel, 35. Master Engineer Gary Nicholson, 47. Sergeant Robert O'Connor, 38. Corporal David Williams, 37. Acting Lance Corporal Steven Jones, 25. Private Mark Dobson, 41. Guardsman Anthony John Wakefield, 24. Lance Corporal Brackenbury, 21. Signaller Paul William Didsbury, 18. Second Lieutenant Richard Shearer, 26. Private Phillip Hewett, 21. Private Leon Spicer, 26. Fusilier Donal Anthony Meade, 20. Fusilier Stephen Robert Manning, 22. Major Matthew Bacon, 34. Captain Ken Masters, 40. Sergeant Chris Hickey, 30. Sergeant John Jones, 31. Lance Corporal Allan Douglas, 22. Corporal Gordon Alexander Pritchard, 31. Trooper Carl Smith, 23. Captain Richard Holmes, 28. Private Lee Ellis, 23. Lieutenant Richard Palmer, 27. Flight Lieutenant Sarah-Jayne Mulvihill, 32. Wing Commander John Coxen, 47. Lieutenant Commander Darren Chapman, 40. Lieutenant David Dobson, 27. Marine Paul Collins,21. Private Joseva Lewaicei, 25. Private Adam Morris, 19. Lieutenant Tom Mildinhall, 26. Paul Farrelly, 27. Corporal John Johnston, 28. Corporal Matthew Cornish, 29. Gunner Samuela Vanua, 27. Gunner Stephen Robert Wright, 20. Gunner Lee Thornton, 22. Lance Corporal Dennis Brady, 37. Lieutenant Tom Tanswell, 27. Kingsman Jamie Hancock, 19. Staff Sergeant Sharron Elliott, 34. Warrant Officer Class 2 Lee Hopkins, 35. Corporal Ben Nowak, 27. Sergeant Jonathan Hollingsworth. Sergeant Graham Hesketh, 35. Sergeant Wayne Rees, 36. Kingsman Alex Green, 21. Private Michael Tench, 18. Second Lieutenant Jonathan Carlos Bracho-Cooke, 24. Private Luke Simpson. Private Jonathon Dany Wysoczan, 21. Kingsman Danny John Wilson, 28. Rifleman Aaron Lincoln, 18. Second Lieutenant Joanna Dyer, 24. Corporal Kris O'Neill, 27. Private Eleanor Dlugosz, 19. Kingsman Adam Smith, 19. RAF Sergeant Mark McLaren, 27. Corporal Ben Leaning. Trooper Kristen Turton. Kingsman Alan Joseph Jones. Rifleman Paul Donnachie, 18. Major Nick Bateson, 49. Private Kevin Thompson. Corporal Jeremy Brookes, 28.
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