UK soldier dies in Helmand blast

Image caption, The soldier was part of a group trying to disrupt insurgent activity in Helmand province

A British soldier from 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment has been killed in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence says.

The soldier was taking part in an operation in the Nad Ali area of Helmand province on Wednesday when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

An MoD spokesman said his next of kin had been informed.

The soldier's death brings the total number of UK personnel killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 359.

Lt Col David Eastman, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said the soldier had been part of a group working to disrupt insurgent activity when the blast happened.

"The soldier gave his life pursuing peace and stability for a people that had been dominated by insurgent subjugation, threats and intimidation," he said.

"We vow to carry on his vital work in the face of such cowardly and indiscriminate attacks.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family at this deeply sad time."

The Royal Irish Regiment is based in Tern Hill, Shropshire.

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