Suicide attack kills four NATO soldiers, 3 civilians

(dpa) - A suicide bomber killed four NATO soldiers and three civilians and wounded 11 others including four international soldiers, when he detonated himself near a military patrol in southern Afghanistan, police said on Monday.

The attack took place in Gerishk district of southern Helmand province on Monday morning, when NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces were conducting a foot patrol in the main market place, provincial police chief Mohammad Hussian Andewal said.

"I can confirm that four ISAF soldiers were killed and another four were wounded in the explosion today," an ISAF spokesman in Kabul told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The spokesman, who did not want to be named, said that he could not confirm the nationalities of the soldiers nor could he say if the explosion was triggered by a suicide bomber.

But police chief Andewal said a bomber who strapped explosives around his body carried out the attack.

"Three innocent civilians were killed and seven others were wounded," Andewal said.

Majority of the soldiers based in the province are British troops.

A NATO-led Canadian soldier was also killed by a roadside bomb in southern Kandahar province during a foot patrol in the area, the military said.

The incident took place in Zabgabad village in Panjwayi district, some 35 kilometres from Kandahar city, once the stronghold of Taliban leader, on Sunday night, Canadian military defence ministry said in a statement posted at its website.

The soldier was evacuated by helicopter to the ISAF hospital at Kandahar Airfield, where he later succumbed to his injuries, it said.

The name of the deceased soldier was not given at the request of the family.

"This incident will not deter us from continuing our work with the government and the people of Afghanistan," the statement said, adding, "Incidents like this one prove that, along with our Afghan National Security Force partners, Canadians need to continue working to bring about peace and security in the region."

Thus far 81 Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan since their deployment under the banner of ISAF forces. A Canadian diplomat was also killed in Kandahar in an attack.

Kandahar and the southern provinces of Helmand, Zabul, Uruzgan and Ghazni are the main hotbed of Taliban-led insurgents fighting to topple the Western-backed Afghan government.

Some 2,500 Canadian soldiers are stationed in Kandahar province as part of 43,000 strong ISAF forces in the country.

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