British soldiers face the brutal reality of Iraqi war

The British Ministry of Defence has confirmed three soldiers sent to reinforce &to=http:// ' target=_blank>US troops near Baghad have been killed, and several others injured.

The soldiers of the Black Watch regiment were redeployed to the American sector just a week ago, and have faced attacks ever since.

British Defence Minister Adam Ingram told the Parliament that the three had been killed in action, and that relatives are still being contacted.

"I can confirm to the House that in an attack on &to=http:// ' target=_blank>British forces in the Black Watch area of operations we have suffered a number of casualties including three fatalities," Mr Ingram said, reports ABC News.

A British newspaper reporter travelling with the regiment on a pool basis said that an Iraqi civilian interpreter travelling with the soldiers was also killed, and that eight troops were injured.

The Ministry of Defence in London declined to confirm this.

The deaths take to 73 the number British service personnel who have died in Iraq since the start of the US-led war in March 2003, 34 of whom were killed in action or by so-called friendly fire.

As well as being a significant blow to Britain's armed forces, the deaths will be hugely worrying for &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has faced fierce criticism over the decision to redeploy the troops, wrote Turkish Press.

According to the Scotsman, a former Black Watch officer whose teenage grandson is serving in Iraq tonight said everyone connected with the historic regiment would mourn the dead soldiers.

Rob Scott said he was "sick to the guts" on hearing of the first combat casualties since the controversial deployment to support US troops around Baghdad.

Mr Scott, 61, also called on MPs to travel to Iraq in their next recess to experience the brutal reality of war.

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