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One dead as Black Watch attacked

Pipe Major Scott Taylor, 24, plays his bagpipes on the Jurf-Al-Sukhr Bridge over the Euphrates River in Iraq.
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Tony Blair
Black Watch

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A British soldier with the Black Watch Regiment has been killed and two others were wounded when a roadside bomb ripped through the armored vehicle they were traveling in near Baghdad, the British Ministry of Defense has said.

The attack took place around 6:30 p.m. (1530 GMT) Monday north of the Black Watch base camp at Camp Dogwood, south of Baghdad, the ministry said.

The ministry said the blast blew the wheels off one side of the Warrior armored vehicle and it then veered off the road.

The two soldiers who were wounded were taken via helicopter to a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad.

The ministry said neither soldier was wounded seriously.

The dead soldier was named Tuesday as Private Pita Tukatukawaqa, 27, of 1st Battalion The Black Watch, a married man from Fiji.

The attack raises the death toll of British troops in Iraq to 74.

British troops have come under increasing attack in recent weeks as British soldiers have been re-deployed from Basra in southern Iraq to just outside of Baghdad to help free up U.S. soldiers for operations in Falluja.

Last week, three Black Watch members were killed by a suicide bomber and another was killed in a vehicle accident.

The three were named on Friday as Sergeant Stuart Gray, 31, Private Paul Lowe, 19 and Private Scott McArdle, 22. All three men were from Fife, Scotland.

That attack happened on a vehicle checkpoint they had set up on the eastern side of the Euphrates River to allow fellow soldiers to try to recover a Warrior fighting vehicle which had been bombed the previous night.

Responsibility for the attack, which also killed an Iraqi interpreter and injured eight other soldiers, was claimed on Friday night by followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqwai, the terrorist leader.

Following a regimental tradition, a lone piper, Pipe Major Scott Taylor, 34, from Glasgow, stood on the key Jurf Al Sukhr Bridge over the Euphrates at dawn Sunday to play a lament for his dead colleagues.

"Because of operational reasons we can't get back to the UK for funerals so it was just played as a mark of respect to the three guys who were lost out here last week," Taylor told PA.

Media reports say that Black Watch troops have taken up a "forward operating position" on the east bank of the Euphrates river to help bar routes to and from Falluja following a request from the U.S. army.

In England, the British government is facing a backlash following the deaths of Black Watch soldiers.

Some families have criticized the UK Ministry of Defence for sending the 850 British troops into the "triangle of death" 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Baghdad.

Private Lowe's 18 year-old brother, Craig, who returned from Basra last month told The Times newspaper "He thought they shouldn't be there, they should all just be back here because it's a war which nobody knows why it was started or what it was done for."

Private Lowe said that his brother had thought little of Bush and his reasons for going to war.

"He just thought he was [...] starting a war over nothing, trying to get money and oil," he said. "I think they should just get them all out of there now because if not we are going to lose a lot more than this."

"We've been finding now for at least a year that half the British public thought that the war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do rather than the right thing to do and if anything the latest events will just crystallize public opinion," Mark Gill of opinion pollsters MORI told CNN.

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