UK Soldiers Hit By 'Friendly Fire'

Friendly Fire

11.07.2008

The Ministry of Defence has launched an investigation into what is thought to be the first incidence of "friendly fire" by a UK aircraft on fellow British servicemen in Afghanistan.

An Apache aircraft appears to have fired on a position thought to be held by enemy forces but instead hit nine members of Two Para. Moments before, the Apache had successfully targeted a Taliban position.

Three were seriously wounded and six more were classified as walking wounded after the incident in Helmand province, the MoD said.

One of those injured has been flown back to the UK but was described as being in a stable condition. Two others remain at Camp Bastion medical centre where they are being kept in for observation.

The six others have been discharged and have returned to their duties. Next of kin have been informed.

A statement from the MoD said: "On July 9 at 12.27pm, a routine British patrol requested fire support from a British Apache when they encountered enemy forces near Forward Operating Base Gibraltar.

"However, in the confusion of a rapidly changing situation and in what is a challenging environment, it would appear that friendly forces were mistaken for the enemy and as a result three members of the patrol were seriously wounded and six more were classified as walking wounded."

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Andrew Tucker from Irwin Mitchell's Armed Forces Accident Team commented: Areas such as Afghanistan are high tempo operational theatres and it is extremely sad that British soldiers have been injured as a result of a "blue-on-blue" incident. Any investigation into the incident must comprehensive and undertaken as quickly as possible to ensure that such accidents are not repeated in the future."

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