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First British journalist dies in Afghanistan

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First British journalist dies in Afghanistan
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A British journalist has been killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan.
Rupert Hamer was defence correspondent for the Sunday Mirror newspaper.

A US marine was also killed in the explosion and photographer Philip Coburn was seriously injured.

Hamer was accompanying a US Marine patrol when the vehicle he was travelling in was struck by an improvised explosive device. He is the first British journalist to die in the eight year long war.

The incident happened near Nawa in Helmand province. Hamer is the second Western journalist to die there in as many weeks, underlining the dangers facing reporters embedded with NATO troops.

Canadian journalist Michelle Lang was killed on December 30, also by a bomb which hit her armoured vehicle.

Last year was by far the deadliest 12 months of the Afghan war for Western forces. Both the US and Britain lost more than twice as many troops as in any previous year – the vast majority killed by roadside bombs.

NATO forces dealt with over 7,000 improvised explosive devices last year, compared with 81 back in 2001.