British forces have killed eight Iraqi insurgents preparing roadside explosive devices in the southern city of Basra.
The strikes against the militants come after four British army soldiers were killed in the area last week.
A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson confirmed that the eight had been killed as part of two teams discovered laying the bombs, but that it was not possible to link them directly to the devices that caused last week's deaths.
"However, these militiamen were intent upon launching exactly the same type of attack in the same area," he added.
Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Stratford-Wright, spokesperson for the regiment which launched the operation, asserted the need to act swiftly and assertively against such insurgent groups.
"The multinational force in south-east Iraq must be able to strike those militia who seek to kill its soldiers, and who also intimidate the people of Basra with death threats," he said.
"Operations against rogue militia will therefore continue, especially so against their leadership and their weapons stocks but also, as in this case, against operatives."
He added however that, due to the continuing transfer of security responsibilities to the Iraqi army, British troops would carry out such attacks less frequently in the future.
"Increasingly, over the coming weeks and months, these operations will become Iraqi-led and executed.
"Disrupting militia operations and eroding their capabilities, alongside building Iraqi security force capacity, will create the conditions for successful security transition in Basra."
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