A Royal Irish Regiment soldier killed in Afghanistan on Remembrance Sunday has been named as Aaron McCormick.
The 20-year-old, from Macosquin in County Derry, died yesterday after being caught in an explosion while on patrol in Nad-e Ali, Helmand province.
Politicians from Northern Ireland paid tribute to the soldier, with his local MP saying the entire community in the Derry village was in shock.
The East Londonderry MP, Gregory Campbell, said: “When the 1st Royal Irish were deployed to Afghanistan, there was a sense of foreboding that at some point through the deployment casualties would undoubtedly unfold.
“I think everyone was steeling themselves for the first of the casualties, and this young man unfortunately has been that casualty.”
The Democratic Unionist MP said soldiers should get the support of the community when they are deployed.
“The best thing we can do is ensure they have the best equipment [and] the best resources, and have our total support,” Campbell said.
The Ulster Unionist leader, Tom Elliott, said: “Brave young men and women in Northern Ireland have given their lives to protect us and our freedom.
“Even on the day that we remember them, one more hero has given his life.”
Northern Ireland’s first minister, Peter Robinson, said he was deeply moved and saddened.
“This death brings home the reality of war. Remembrance Sunday is not about the past, it’s about the present,” he said.
“It’s about the family in Northern Ireland who are now grieving the loss of their boy. I extend my deepest sympathies to them.”
The soldier’s death raises to 344 the toll in Afghanistan since 2001.
His family has been informed, the Ministry of Defence said.