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A British rifleman was killed in a bomb blast in Southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence confirmed today, making him the third British death in three days.

The soldier, from 1st Battalion The Rifles was on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province on Sunday when he was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED).

“The soldier was part of a foot patrol, supporting an Afghan National Security Forces operation to clear one of the last remaining insurgent safe havens in central Helmand, when he was fatally wounded by an IED," Task Force Helmand spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Tim Purbrick said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

Earlier on the same day a Royal Marine of 42 Commando was also killed while on a patrol in the same region.

Meanwhile on Friday 26 year old Corporal Michael Pike, from Aberdeenshire, was shot dead by insurgents when his patrol came under enemy fire from rocket-propelled grenades in Lashkar Gah.

These latest three deaths bring the toll of British servicemen and women killed in Afghanistan to 371 since 2001.

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