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.