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Death caps UK's worst year in Afghanistan

  • Story Highlights
  • Death of British soldier takes UK fatalities in Afghanistan to 52 for 2008
  • Figure is highest annual death toll since start of mission in October 2001
  • Soldier was killed by an explosion in southern Afghanistan during routine patrol
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A British Royal Marine was killed Wednesday by an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defense announced Thursday, capping Britain's deadliest year in the seven-year-old conflict.

The Marine was killed in the Sangin district of Helmand province while taking part in a routine patrol, the ministry said. His death was reported Wednesday, but his nationality was not revealed until Thursday.

"Every death is tragic, yet at the turning of the year, with the celebration and hope it promises, this loss is all the harder to bear," said Cmdr. Paula Rowe, a spokeswoman for Task Force Helmand.

"All our thoughts go to his family, friends, and colleagues who will be devastated by his sacrifice."

The death brings to 52 the number of British troops killed in Afghanistan in 2008, more than in any other year since the mission began in October 2001, according to the defense ministry.

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