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Two British soldiers killed in friendly fire
       London (GB), March 25 (Xinhuanet) -- The British Defense Ministry announced Tuesday that two British tank crew were killed late Monday in "a friendly fire" incident near Basra, the Iraqi secondlargest city. The soldiers were killed Monday night in a friendly fire incident from another British Challenger during a night battle with Iraqi forces on the outskirts of Basra, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense told Xinhua. The two soldiers were from the Queen's Royal Lancers operating a Challenger II main battle tank, the spokesman said. "It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defense has to confirm the death of Corporal Stephen John Allbutt, 35, and Trooper David Jeffrey Clarke, 19," he added. Army chiefs investigating the incident have not disclosed whether the tank which fired the fatal shot was from the same regiment. The Challenger II is the British Army's main battle tank and entered service in June 1998. Its advanced thermal imaging system, used to function at night,is regarded as the best in the world. So far, about 20 British servicemen are known to have died in the conflict, with another two British soldiers missing since their vehicle was hit Sunday in southern Iraq.

Protest over NI missile firm
       (BBC) - About 50 people have held an anti-war protest against a defence technologies company in London (GB)derry. The Raytheon firm employs about 60 people in the city and makes patriot, tomahawk, cruise and sidewinder missiles which are currently being used in Iraq. Protestors went inside Derry City Council's chamber on Tuesday evening to ask councillors to join them in their protest against the company. The council have voted their opposition to the war on moral grounds. Sinn Fein councillors pledged to raise the issue at the next council meeting. The council also invited company representatives and campaigners to present their case.

Scots battalion loses soldier
       (BBC) - The death of a soldier from a Scottish battalion during fighting in southern Iraq has been described as "another tragedy of war". Lance Corporal Barry Stephen, 31, from Perth, was the second British serviceman to die in action and was killed in combat on Monday night in an operation near al-Zubayr, south of Basra. He belonged to the 1st Battalion The Black Watch, whose main recruiting grounds are Perthshire, Angus and Fife. Scotsman newspaper reporter Gethin Chamberlain, who has been travelling with the Black Watch, said he believes Lance Corporal Stephen was in an armoured personnel carrier which was attacked by Iraqis with rocket-propelled grenades. He said: "What happened in this attack, apparently, is that they came under fire. "He, it would appear, had climbed up onto the roof where the machine gun was mounted to try to fight off the attack and unfortunately the rocket-propelled grenade exploded next to him and he was killed." Reacting to the death, the chairman of the Labour Party, Dr John Reid, told the BBC: "It is another tragedy of war. "We are witnessing the reality of military conflict, sometimes rapid and dramatic progress is made but then a substantial challenge and sacrifices. "The Black Watch is a marvellous regiment." "I, over a period of time as defence minister and Northern Ireland secretary, had great acquaintance with them. "Our thoughts are with the family of anyone who has lost their life in service of this country." Lance Corporal Stephen joined the Black Watch in 1997 and had served in Northern Ireland, Germany and the UK and was part of the mortar platoon. British forces spokesman Group Captain Al Lockwood, in Qatar, said he would not reveal details about how he died.

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