A British soldier killed in a rocket attack on a military base in Iraq has been named as 26-year-old Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon.
She was killed alongside two US troops in the attack on Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, on Wednesday.
Twelve other coalition personnel were injured as 18 Katyusha rockets hit the camp. It is not yet clear which country the injured were all from, but the US said five required “urgent” medical attention.
LCpl Gillon, who was also a civilian sports physiotherapist, had volunteered to be part of the Irish Guards Battle Group in her role as a Class One Combat Medical Technician during their current deployment to Iraq.
The army medic served as a Reserve with the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry after joining as a Combat Medical Technician in 2015.
Her death marks the first time a British serviceperson has been killed by enemy fire since the UK launched its operation against Islamic State alongside allies in 2014.
Lieutenant Colonel William Leek, LCpl Gillon’s commanding officer for the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, said: “LCpl Brodie Gillon was a hugely popular character in the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry and we are proud and humbled to have served with her in our ranks.
“She was a larger than life soldier who was determined to deploy on operations, help others, develop herself and gain practical experience.
“She had already achieved a great deal in her relatively short time with us and it was abundantly clear that she was destined for great things in her civilian and military careers. Her loss is keenly felt.
“My deepest condolences go to her family and loved ones. They are in my thoughts and prayers, and those of the wider regimental family.”
A statement from the Ministry of Defence described her as a “fit, energetic and compassionate individual, who played an active role in all aspects of military life”.
“She juggled her military training with her career as a self-employed sports physiotherapist, and clearly excelled and was committed to both,” the statement said.
Major General Celia Harvey, deputy commander field Army, said LCpl Gillon was a “much-loved soldier” who had been “fulfilling a long-term ambition to serve her country on an operational tour in Iraq” when she was killed.
“She was a soldier who showed fantastic commitment and determination, combined with a fun-loving personality,” added Maj Gen Harvey, who became the UK’s first female Army reservist in 1986.
Defence secretary Ben Wallave condemned the attack as “cowardly and retrograde” and called LCpl GIllon a “shining example of what our Armed Forces and Reserves stand for”.
The release of LCpl Gillon’s identity came at the same time as the head of US Central Command in Iraq said the attack was most likely carried out by Shia militia groups.
US Marine General Kenneth McKenzie did not blame any specific group but noted that only Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah had been known to wage such an attack in the past.
“While we are still investigating the attack, I will note that the Iranian proxy group Kataib Hezbollah is the only group known to have previously conducted an indirect fire attack of this scale against US and coalition forces in Iraq,” he told a US Senate hearing on Thursday.
Washington blamed Kataib Hezbollah for a strike in December that killed a US contractor, which led to tit-for-tat confrontations, culminating in the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and a retaliatory Iranian missile attack that left more than 100 US troops with brain injuries.
US defence secretary Mark Esper said the US would not stop until they had found the perpetrators of the attack, which he blamed on Iranian-backed Shia militia groups.
He said Donald Trump has given him authority “to do what we need to do” to respond.
“Let me be clear, the United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies,” Mr Esper said on Thursday.
“All options are on the table as we work with our partners to bring the perpetrators to justice and maintain deterrence.”
US Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Washington knows with a “high degree of certainty” who carried out the attack.