(CNN) -- One Australian soldier, three civilians and Taliban militants were killed early Friday during heavy fighting in southern Afghanistan, according to information from Australian and NATO officials.
Four Australian troops have now died in the conflict in Afghanistan.
The incident occurred in Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan province, where Taliban militants killed an Australian commando, the Australian Defence Ministry said.
The 26-year-old commando -- Pvt. Luke Worsley of Sydney -- served with the Special Operations Task Group. This is the fourth Australian troop to die in the Afghan conflict.
"The action in which Private Worsley died only concluded in the last few hours and was characterized by heavy, close quarter fighting. The SOTG was conducting an operation to clear an identified Taliban bomb making facility in Uruzgan province, when the soldier was hit by small arms fire," Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force said "a significant number of Taliban insurgents were killed or captured as part of the operation. Taliban insurgents initiated the firefight which lasted several hours."
Gen. Carlos Branco, ISAF spokesman, said it is not known how the civilians, two women and a child, died.
"However, we do know that the insurgents fired upon ISAF soldiers from the compound in which the Afghan civilians (two women and one child) were found after the fight. ISAF makes all effort to prevent losses of innocent civilian lives." E-mail to a friend
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