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British soldier killed in Afghan blast

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  • British soldier killed on New Year's Day by blast in Afghanistan
  • Soldier served with the 6th Battalion The Rifles in Helmand province
  • He was on patrol in Garmsir district when he was killed
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KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A British soldier was killed on New Year's Day by an explosion in southern Afghanistan, Britain's Ministry of Defense said Friday.

A British unit on patrol in Helmand province's Garmsir district, where another soldier has died.

A British unit on patrol in Helmand province's Garmsir district, where another soldier has died.

The soldier, who served with the 6th Battalion The Rifles, had been taking part in a routine patrol in the Garmsir district of Helmand province when he was killed, the ministry said.

"It is deeply saddening to confirm the loss of a British soldier who died while helping to provide security in southern Helmand," said Commander Paula Rowe, a spokeswoman for Task Force Helmand. "His family, friends and all those who knew and worked with him will mourn his loss -- our heartfelt sympathies go to them all at this terrible time."

Britain suffered its worst year of losses in Afghanistan in 2008, with 51 British troops killed. It was more than in any other year since the mission began in October 2001, the defense ministry said.

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