Investigation into Royal Anglian deaths

AN AMERICAN airbase in Suffolk has declined to say whether one of its fighter jets may have been involved in the apparent “friendly fire” deaths of three Royal Anglian soldiers in Afghanistan.

AN AMERICAN airbase in Suffolk has declined to say whether one of its fighter jets may have been involved in the apparent “friendly fire” deaths of three Royal Anglian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Two other soldiers were seriously injured after a US fighter aircraft dropped a bomb on them as they battled insurgents in Helmand Province.

The incident happened as the troops patrolled an area north-west of Kajaki, Helmand Province, on Thursday evening local time.

After coming under attack the unit, from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment - which has its regimental headquarters at Bury St Edmunds - called in close air support from two US F15s.


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At about 6.30pm local time one of the aircraft launched a bomb, which apparently exploded hitting five British troops, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

Three soldiers were declared dead at the scene and two others were evacuated to Camp Bastion with serious injuries.

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Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Mayo, spokesman for British troops in Helmand Province, said an investigation into the deaths had been launched.

F15s from RAF Lakenheath, the home of the 48th Fighter Wing, are currently deployed in Afghanistan, but a spokesman for the base was unable to confirm whether the base's planes may have been involved in the incident.

Instead, the spokesman referred the matter to the International Security Assistance Force. An ISAF spokesman said: “We do not discuss deployments of specific units.”

The incident is believed to be the second friendly fire incident involving British troops in Afghanistan.

The 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment - known as the “Vikings” - are currently deployed in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. It recruits from Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

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