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Special operations soldier killed, four wounded.



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DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE

Issued by Coordination and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6265 3343, Fax: 02 62656946

Media Releases are available via e-mail if you register at www.defence.gov.au/media

CPA 109/08 Monday, 28 April 2008

SPECIAL OPERATIONS SOLDIER KILLED, FOUR WOUNDED

An Australian soldier serving with the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) in Afghanistan has been killed by Taliban extremists in Oruzgan Province, approximately 25km southeast of Tarin Kowt.

Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said the soldier was killed during a gun-battle in the early hours of this morning (AEST) when Australian soldiers were engaged by Taliban extremists using small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades.

“Lance Corporal Jason Marks, who was 27 years of age and from the Sydney-based 4th Battalion (Commando), the Royal Australian Regiment, was killed just after 6pm,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.

Four other soldiers were also seriously wounded during the contact. Their condition is assessed as not life threatening. Due to the nature of wounds, one of more of those hospitalised may need to be evacuated to other facilities for more advanced medical treatment. In accordance with Defence policy, their names will not be released.

The wounded soldiers and the body of Lance Corporal Marks have since been evacuated by helicopter to a medical facility at Tarin Kowt. Repatriation arrangements for Lance Corporal Marks’ body will begin immediately.

“This is a sad day and, on behalf of the entire Defence Organisation, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family, colleagues and friends of Lance Corporal Marks. Our best wishes are also with the wounded soldiers in the hope that they make a speedy recovery.

Defence has notified the immediate families of all soldiers involved and is providing assistance to them during this very difficult time.

“Our soldiers continue to acquit themselves magnificently and the SOTG continues to take the fight to the Taliban. However, due to the nature of special operations, no further details can be released at this time,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.

Information on the ADF’s commitment to Afghanistan can be found at: http://www.defence.gov.au/opslipper/default.htm

Media Note: Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston’s media statement will be available from: http://www.defence.gov.au/media/download/audio/index.cfm

Media contact: Defence Media Liaison (02) 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664