two British soldiers killed in separate bomb attacks
Two British soldiers have died after they were wounded in separate explosions in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said.
A soldier from 2nd Battalion The Rifles was killed when he was caught in a blast while on foot patrol in the Gereshk district of central Helmand province this afternoon.
Another soldier, from 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, died in hospital in the UK after he was injured in an explosion while in a Viking armoured vehicle in the north-west of Helmand on Saturday
Both families have been informed.
The latest deaths bring to 216 the number of British troops killed in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001.
The soldier from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment died at the Royal College of Defence Medicine in Selly Oak, Birmingham.
Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, speaking before news of the second soldier's death emerged, said: "This brave British soldier has made the ultimate sacrifice and his passing is mourned by the whole of Task Force Helmand.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and comrades at this very sad time."
Vikings are highly manoeuvrable and are praised by soldiers for their agility in traversing Helmand's often rugged terrain.
But critics have raised concerns about their vulnerability to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) after the deaths of a number of British troops who were travelling in the vehicles.
Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, the most senior Army officer to be killed in action since the Falklands War, died alongside Trooper Joshua Hammond in a Viking in Helmand in July.
An inquest in Plymouth in January heard that the vehicles' underbellies were being fitted with extra armour to combat the IED threat