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UK condemns ‘cowardly’ rocket attack in Iraq that killed British soldier


Boris Johnson

UK condemns ‘cowardly’ rocket attack in Iraq that killed British soldier

Image copyright MoD Image caption L/Cpl Brodie Gillon was also a self-employed sports physiotherapist The British soldier killed in an attack on a military base in Iraq has been named as L/Cpl Brodie Gillon.L/Cpl Gillon, 26, was described as a “larger than life soldier” who was “destined for great things”.Earlier, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned…

UK condemns ‘cowardly’ rocket attack in Iraq that killed British soldier

Undated handout photo issued by the Ministry of Defence of Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon who has named the British servicewoman killed in a missile attack on Camp Taji in Iraq. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday March 12, 2020Image copyright
MoD

Image caption

L/Cpl Brodie Gillon was also a self-employed sports physiotherapist

The British soldier killed in an attack on a military base in Iraq has been named as L/Cpl Brodie Gillon.

L/Cpl Gillon, 26, was described as a “larger than life soldier” who was “destined for great things”.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned the attack – that also killed two Americans – as “cowardly”.

He said those responsible would be held to account and that it was “essential to defend against these deplorable acts”.

At least 12 people were injured in the attack on the Taji military camp, north of Baghdad, on Thursday.

It came amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran.

The Iraqi military has opened an investigation into the attack.

‘Loyal friend’

The Ministry of Defence said L/Cpl Gillon – a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps and a reserve with the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry – was a “fit, energetic and compassionate individual”.

She also had a career as a self-employed sports physiotherapist. It was understood she was from South Ayrshire.

Her commanding officer, Lt Col William Leek, described her as a “hugely popular character”.

“She was a larger than life soldier who was determined to deploy on operations, help others, develop herself and gain practical experience.

“She had already achieved a great deal in her relatively short time with us and it was abundantly clear that she was destined for great things in her civilian and military careers. Her loss is keenly felt.”

Her squadron leader, Maj Craig Powers, added she was an “outstanding medic and loyal friend who would be “deeply missed”.

Taji air base is used as a training site for coalition forces.

The attack coincided with what would have been the birthday of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in January.

US military sources said an American soldier and an American contractor were also killed. No names have been released yet.

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Mr Raab offered his “heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in this cowardly attack”.

He added that he had discussed the attack – and how to respond – with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Mr Raab said: “We agreed that it is essential to defend against these deplorable acts. We must find those responsible.”

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made a statement following Thursday’s attack

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We will continue to liaise with our international partners to fully understand the details of this abhorrent attack.”

Speaking to BBC News, defence minister Johnny Mercer said the UK’s commitment to peace in Iraq remained despite the “absolute tragedy”.

“I think that we should continue to do everything possible to keep this country safe,” he said.

“Where that requires us to partner with coalition forces in a fight against a deadly enemy like Daesh [the so-called Islamic State], I think we should continue to contribute to that mission.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionInside the US base attacked by Iranian missiles

US military spokesman Colonel Myles Caggins said 12 people from the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve were injured when more than 15 small rockets hit the base on Wednesday at 19:35 local time (16:35 GMT).

Mr Pompeo said the attack would “not be tolerated” and that the UK and US have agreed that “those responsible must be held accountable”.

About 400 British troops are stationed in Iraq, while the US has 5,200.

The Army said British troops were in the country to provide training and equipment to Iraqi and Kurdish security forces – rather than in a combat role – and have trained more than 25,000 Iraqi forces.

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