British national killed while clearing mines in Iraq city of Ramadi: British embassy

BAGHDAD (AFP) - A British national working for a United States company clearing ordnance in the Iraqi city of Ramadi was killed on Monday (Aug 22) as he tried to defuse a bomb, officials said.

"We've just been made aware that there has been a British national killed in Ramadi," a British embassy spokesman told AFP.

The mayor of Ramadi, which is the capital of the western Anbar province and was retaken by Iraqi forces from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group earlier this year, confirmed the incident.

"A contractor of British origin was killed and another wounded as they attempted to defuse an IED (improvised explosive device) in the Malaab neighbourhood," Mr Ibrahim al-Osej told AFP.

He did not specify the nationality of the wounded contractor.

The contract for clearing the thousands of improvised explosive devices and booby-traps the jihadists left behind in Ramadi was awarded to US company Janus.

A senior Anbar police official also confirmed the incident but Janus would not immediately comment.

Rigging homes and planting bombs on roads was a key component of the system IS set up to defend the city, which lies about 100km west of Baghdad.

Iraqi forces backed by US-led coalition air strikes eventually retook Ramadi six months ago after a battle that completely emptied the city of its population and left it in ruins.

Massive mine-clearing operations need to be completed before the city's inhabitants can start returning and reconstruction efforts begin.