- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2003

LONDON, March 25 (UPI) — A second British soldier has been killed in action in southern Iraq, officials told the U.K. Press Association.

The soldier, from the 1st Battalion The Black Watch, was killed late Monday near al-Zubayr, 15 miles west of Basra, in southern Iraq. The Black Watch is a Scottish regiment.

A British military source at Allied Central Command in Qatar told the news agency: "His next of kin have been informed and at the request of his family his name will not be released."

No further details are known.

The death follows Sunday's shooting of a British soldier in the same town. Sgt. Steven Roberts, 33, was trying to calm civilian rioting there. Roberts died of his injuries Monday.

The two deaths take to 18 the number of British troops killed in the war with Iraq. The other 16 were from accidents on friendly-fire incidents. Two British servicemen are also missing after their convoy was attacked near Basra Sunday.

Despite the deaths, a new poll released Tuesday showed a clear majority of Britons now support the war against Iraq, giving a boost to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The Guardian/ICM tracker poll showed 54 percent of Britons now support the war compared to 38 percent a week ago. Opposition to the U.S.-led conflict fell from 44 percent a week ago to 30 percent.

Anti-war sentiments were strongest among the 18-24-year age group. Liberal Democrats and those living in southeast England came next. Supporters of the Conservative Party were the strongest supporters of war: 66 percent were for it and 22 percent opposed.

Supporters of Blair's Labor Party were for the war - 58 percent supported it and 29 percent were against it.

The poll was based on a random sample of 1,008 adults by telephone between March 21 and 23.

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