Speaker, with permission I will make a statement on
two serious incidents involving British forces in Iraq
incident occurred at around seven-thirty this morning
UK time. It involved members of the 1st Battalion, The
Parachute Regiment, who were conducting a routine patrol
in the town of Al Majar Al Kabir, some 25 kilometres
south of the town of Al Amarah in the province of Al
Maysan. The two vehicles in which they were travelling
were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades, heavy
machine guns and rifle fire from a large number of Iraqi
gunmen. Our troops returned fire, and called for assistance
from other UK forces.
Quick Reaction Force, including a troop of Scimitar
vehicles, additional troops, and a Chinook CH-47 helicopter,
was despatched to the scene to provide assistance. They
also came under fire. A total of eight British personnel
sustained injuries, one on the ground and seven in the
helicopter. They were taken initially to 202 Field Hospital,
south-west of Basra. Two have since been transferred
to a United States Field Hospital in Kuwait to receive
specialist treatment for very serious injuries. The
other six are being treated in 202 Field Hospital.
the bodies of six British personnel, who appear to have
been killed in another incident, were recovered from
the town of Al Majar al Kabir at around midday UK time.
These personnel were not part of the Parachute Regiment
patrol, but were members of the Royal Military Police.
Local information suggests that they may have been involved
in an incident at the police station in Al Majar al
Kabir. I regret that at this stage I am unable to provide
any further information. British commanders are investigating
We are in the process of informing the next of kin of
all those who have been killed or injured. I know that
the House would want to join me in sending our condolences
to the families. Our thoughts are with them at this
are investigating whether there is any connection between
these two incidents. British commanders in theatre are
assessing the situation and have been in contact with
local leaders. It would not be right to speculate further
at this stage. I would certainly caution against reaching
any wider conclusions about the overall security situation
in southern Iraq, particularly in the United Kingdom's
area of responsibility. Coalition forces have worked
hard to secure Iraq in the aftermath of decisive combat
operations. They will not be deflected from their efforts
by the enemies of peace.
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