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British soldier killed in Iraq

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A British soldier has been killed in Iraq, the British Ministry of Defense told CNN on Tuesday.

The victim, Royal Marine Cpl. Ian Plank, 31, was killed by hostile fire during a coalition operation Friday, but his death was not confirmed until Tuesday because of operational concerns, an MOD spokeswoman said.

Plank was the 52nd British soldier to die in Iraq and the 19th since May 1, when U.S. President George Bush declared major combat over.

Four other British soldiers received minor injuries in the attack, the spokeswoman said. She declined to say where in Iraq the incident took place. British troops are mainly based around the southern city of Basra.

On the MOD's Web site, Col. Jerry Heal, the Royal Marines' director, paid tribute to the dead soldier, who came from Poole, in south-western England.

"Ian Plank was an extremely popular and greatly admired member of the Royal Marines, widely respected for his professional excellence, commitment and determination," he said.

"He was particularly well known for his resilience and robustness under pressure, when his leadership, example and sense of humor were especially valued.

"His positive outlook, bright disposition and zest for life will be remembered with deep pride and affection by all who knew him, and most of all by his family and those members of the Royal Marines and others with whom he served around the world."

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