A roadside bomb blast in southern Afghanistan yesterday killed the Sunday Mirror's defense correspondent and an American Marine. Rupert Hamer, 39, was the first UK journalist killed while covering the war in Afghanistan. "He was a gregarious figure ,a wonderful friend who was hugely popular with his colleagues," the paper's editor said in a statement.
Photographer Phil Coburn, who along with Hamer was embedded with the Marines, was seriously wounded, as were five Marines. Defense secretary Bob Ainsworth, who knew both journalists professionally, said he "was impressed by their hard work and professionalism." Eighteen journalists have been killed in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001, according to the New York Times.