Two soldiers killed in Afghanistan

image captionThe soldiers were hit by small arms fire in the in the north of Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province

Two British soldiers have been killed in small arms fire in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The servicemen, from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment and 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment, were killed on Wednesday.

The soldiers were patrolling an area in the north of Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province.

Next of kin have been informed.

The number of British military deaths in operations in Afghanistan since 2001 stands at 354.

Spokesman for Task Force Helmand Lt Col David Eastman said thoughts and prayers were with the two men's families "at this tragic time".

"Both soldiers were engaged in vital work bringing stability, governance and development to an area that had been dominated by insurgent intimidation.

"They have given their lives fighting oppression and protecting those less able to protect themselves; we will never forget them," he said.