Third Danish soldier killed in Iraq

Danish Defense Minister Soeren Gade was set to participate Monday in the funeral of Pvt. Jesper Nielsen, who became the third Danish soldier killed in Iraq.

Nielsen, 20, was killed March 23 when a roadside bomb exploded near Basra in southern Iraq where Denmark's 530 troops are stationed. Another Danish soldier in the lightly armored vehicle was slightly injured.

Gade, deputy defense chief Vice Adm. Tim Sloth Joergensen and army chief of staff Gen. Maj. Poul Kiaerskou were to attend the funeral from the Gimsing church, Nielsen's hometown, near Stuer, 320 kilometers (198 miles) northwest of Copenhagen.

The funeral service was closed to the media at the request of Nielsen's family, the army said in a statement.

Nielsen was the second Danish solider to be killed in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq. 1st Lt. Bjarke Olsen Kirkman was killed Oct. 1 as his patrol vehicle drove past an exploding device. Cpl. Preben Pedersen died after being shot by friendly fire in August 2003, reports the AP.

I.L.