A British soldier killed in Iraq is believed to have been shot after another member of the UK force accidentally discharged a weapon at the Taji base, north of Baghdad.
The Ministry of Defence named the dead soldier as L/Cpl Scott Hetherington, 22, of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. It has launched an investigation into his death.
The UK contingent based at Taji is training the Iraqi army for combat against Islamic State. Hetherington, who was from Manchester and nicknamed Snowball, was the vehicle commander of a platoon providing protection for the trainers.
Lt Col Rob Singleton, the commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, said: “L/Cpl Scott Hetherington was a superb soldier and a first-class leader. Utterly professional and talented, he was full of character, fun, and his enthusiasm was infectious.”
The death comes after the MoD had been quietly expressing thanks to the military for getting through 2016 without any deaths to its personnel in combat zones.