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British Anti-Mine Expert Slain in Iraq

September 06, 2003|From Times Wire Services

LONDON — A British bomb disposal expert was killed and his Iraqi bodyguard was seriously wounded when gunmen attacked their vehicle in northern Iraq, officials said Friday.

The roadside ambush occurred Thursday as Ian Rimell, who worked for the British-based charity Mines Advisory Group, and his bodyguard, Salem Ahmed Mohammed, were driving on a main road near Mosul.

Britain's Foreign Office said Rimell, 53, was the second British civilian to die in Iraq since the end of the war. The other was freelance TV journalist Richard Wild, 24, who was shot by an unidentified gunman in July.

Earlier Thursday, Rimell had cleared a scrap heap filled with ammunition and hidden explosives, then delivered the scrap metal for the rebuilding of a local school.

Lou McGrath, executive director of the charity, said the group was "devastated by the loss of their good friend and colleague. He was a dedicated humanitarian who worked so well with the local people."

Mines Advisory Group staff members have been in Iraq for more than a decade, with 700 mostly local personnel in northern Iraq. It was one of the few international aid agencies that stayed during the war, providing humanitarian mine clearance and mine risk education.

The Defense Ministry said Friday that Britain will send 120 more soldiers to Iraq to bolster security. The troops, from the 2nd Light Infantry, will fly this weekend from Cyprus and join Britain's 11,000-strong force.

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