Bodies of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan to be back

15:49, June 11, 2010      

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The bodies of two Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan this week will return to Australia on Sunday morning, official announced on Friday.

According to Australian Associated Press, a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) transport aircraft carrying the remains of Sappers Jacob Moerland, 21, and Darren Smith, 25, will touch down at RAAF base Amberley, Queensland, for the traditional ramp ceremony.

Their deaths took the Australian casualty toll for Afghanistan to 13 since 2002. This was also the first time Australia has suffered multiple combat casualties since the Vietnam War.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Tuesday said the deaths have been a sobering reminder that Afghanistan is a very tough military campaign.

"We are up against a determined and dangerous enemy. However, under no circumstances can Australians afford to allow Afghanistan to become a free, operating, training base for terrorist organizations in the future," Rudd said in his statement.

As well as family members, the returning home ceremony will be attended by Defense Minister John Faulkner, Defense head Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, Army Chief Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie and Opposition defense personnel spokesman Bob Baldwin.

Funeral services for the two soldiers are likely to be held next week.

Sappers Moerland and Smith, both members of the Brisbane-based 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment, died when an insurgent improvised explosive device (IED) detonated during an operation on Monday.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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