LONDON, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Six British soldiers are missing, believed killed, after their armoured vehicle was struck by an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the British Ministry of Defense (MOD) said on Wednesday.
Six soldiers, five from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and one from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, were on a mounted patrol when their Warrior armoured fighting vehicle was struck by an explosion in Helmand Province on Tuesday.
Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said "I utterly condemn those responsible for this incident who will ultimately fail to derail a mission that is protecting our national security at home and making real progress in Helmand Province."
Hammond said Britain is "on course" to end its combat operations in Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
The families of the soldiers have been informed. Chief of the Defense Staff, General David Richards, said "My thoughts and prayers at this difficult time are with the families of those affected by this tragic event."
Details are still being confirmed. It could be the biggest loss of British military personnel in a single assault in Afganistan since 2001.
Special Report: Afghanistan Situation